Urea flow from Punjab to Sindh draws panel’s ire

Published December 9, 2021
Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar and Federal Minister for Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam chair a meeting of the Fertiliser Review Committee on Wednesday. — PID
Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar and Federal Minister for Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam chair a meeting of the Fertiliser Review Committee on Wednesday. — PID

ISLAMABAD: The Fertiliser Review Committee censured the agriculture departments of Sindh and Punjab on Wednesday for not containing the flow of fertiliser into Sindh.

The committee’s meeting — jointly chaired by Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar and Federal Minister for Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam — was held to review the supply, stock position and production targets of urea in the current month for the sowing season.

Mr Bakhtyar directed the authorities concerned to ensure vigilant border monitoring to avoid interprovincial movement of urea and rationalise district-wise provision of urea for a market correction.

Sindh’s agricultural department officials informed the meeting about the recent illegal movement of urea at the Sukkur bypass and the highway at the border with Punjab. The officials said Sindh had initiated punitive measures against hoarders in the area surrounding the provincial border.

The meeting was informed that the actions by the Sindh government through the relevant district administration seized urea bags that were illegally stored at the Sukkur bypass.

Mr Bakhtyar directed fertiliser manufacturers to blacklist dealers who were hoarding and black-marketing urea.

While the officials of the Ministry of Industries and Production called upon the fertiliser manufacturers to stop hoarding and oversupply of urea in Karachi, the private sector inquired about the notifications by the provincial governments or district administrations regarding the ban on urea movement.

The meeting was informed by Punjab’s agriculture secretary that urea supplies to Punjab had increased from 64 per cent to 72pc as anomalies in distribution among the provinces had been rectified.

The forum also reviewed the supply and stock position and production targets of urea in the current month.

The meeting was told that urea prices had been restored to the controlled rates of Rs1,768 per bag amid stern measures in Punjab, while the pricing structure was being maintained in other provinces.

As the meeting discussed the factors leading to the black marketing of urea and higher purchases during the ongoing Rabi season, the representatives of fertiliser manufacturers informed the committee that the price range was between Rs1,790 and Rs1,950 per bag in various parts of the country.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2021

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