Farmer unions across the spectrum accused the Centre of adding to the burden of farmers by “allowing manufacturers” hike prices of key fertilisers.
The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) has demanded that there should be no revision in fertilisers prices and that these be sold at old rates with immediate effect.
BKS is affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and prefers to call itself an apolitical organisation.
Meanwhile, the Left-leaning All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) also has demanded immediate rollback in key fertiliser prices.
“Government has also stubbornly refused to accept farmers demand of fixing MSP at least 50 per cent more than Cost of Production (C2+50%) despite increasing input costs making agriculture unviable. This increase in fertiliser prices is a direct attack on the farmers in India,” the AIKS said in a statement.
“The increasing prices of diesel have already led to an exorbitant increase in irrigation costs and costs of tilling using tractors and tillers,” it added.
According to reports, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Harpal Singh Cheema also condemned the Centre for raising the price of DAP fertilizer by Rs 700.
In a statement on Tuesday, May 18, Cheema said that the BJP government had decided to increase the price of a 50 kg bag of DAP fertiliser, which will “break the back of farmers". He added that while a DAP fertilizer bag was earlier available at Rs 1,200 will now cost Rs 1,900.
Last month, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers urged manufacturers and importers to consult the Department of Fertilisers before changing any price of PK fertilisers. Farmer unions had then dismissed such assurances as “short-term” since old prices will be applicable only for existing stocks.
“The price hike in key fertilisers just before Kharif season will not augur well for farmers,” said Badri Narayan Chaudhury, general secretary, BKS.
Added Hannan Mollah, general secretary, AIKS, “Farmers use DAP (Di-Ammonium Phosphate) as a primary fertiliser during sowing of different Kharif crops like paddy, cotton, groundnut, etc.”
The AIKS claimed that the hike in prices of DAP is as high as 58 per cent – from Rs.1,200 per bag of 50 Kilograms to Rs.1,900. It added that “according to reports” the prices of Nitrogen Phosphorous Potassium (NPK) have risen by 52 per cent or an increase of Rs.615 per bag – from around 1,175 per bag to Rs.1,790 per bag.
“Prices of Potash have risen by Rs.850 per bag, almost doubling from around Rs.875 per bag in May, 2020, to Rs.1,725 per bag; and that of Ammonium Phosphate Sulphate (APS) have risen by Rs.425 per bag, i.e., from about Rs.925 per bag to about Rs.1,350 per bag or by about 46 per cent,” said the farmers’ union affiliated with the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
The BKS also strongly condemned the Centre’s decision of opening import of three main pulses, saying this comes at a time when we were proving to be atmanirvar (self-dependent) in producing pulses in the country.
The government on Saturday opened import of tur (arhar), moong and urad. This followed an amendment in the import policy by moving these three pulses from “restricted” to “open” category.
The move is said to be aimed at increasing the availability of pulses and address price rise.