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Urea grows a new crop of hoarders

January 20, 2009


SAHIWAL, Jan 19; Farmers and fertilizers dealers have voiced against “political involvement, mismanagement and irregularities” in the distribution of urea and demanded more sales points here in Sahiwal.

According to district agriculture department officials, Sahiwal farmers need 200,000 urea bags in January.

Dawn visited a Utility Stores in Sahiwal where urea is sold and saw hundreds of farmers struggling to get the commodity. They had their Computerised National Identity Cards and land deeds with themselves but were unable to get the fertilizers because, what they said, they had no “connection or reference".

“We are here to supervise and check the identity of farmers and their documents,” said Abdul Qadoos, agriculture deputy director, told Dawn, ruling out the involvement of the agriculture department officials in the urea distribution.

Riazul Haq, a farmer from 86/6-R, has a recipe to get urea. "To get urea one must have a recommendation letter from politicians or agriculture officials or a telephone call from any police officials of a station house officer rank.”

Source say as soon as a fresh urea consignment lands in the city, agents of local MPAs and MNAs with hundreds of land deeds and CNIC copies also land at the consignment place and negotiate with the Utility Stores officials. Such agents succeed in getting hundreds of urea bags at subsidised rates who later distribute the bags to farmers on the recommendations of MNAs or MPAs after keeping their profit. Abdul Waheed, a farmer from 88/6-R, said, "This is a new class of fertilizers dealers.”

Muhammad Munir, District Fertilizers Dealers Association, told Dawn that under the new system a new class of hoarders and distributors had emerged in every village.”

Hafeez Akhtar, PPP MPA, denied fertilizers dealers' allegation. He said the party had directed them to monitor the urea sale and they are doing it like obligation. Ghulam Farid Kathia, state minister for education, defended the involvement of the party cadre in “identifying deserving growers and help them get urea”.

ACCIDENT: Three people died and one got critically injured in a road accident near Harrapa Toll Plaza here in Sahiwal on Monday.

A Dera Ghazi Khan-to- Lahore car hit a tanker due to poor visibility caused by the fog. Three car riders Muhammad Ashfaq, Muhammad Hasan and Muhammad Ishaq died instantly and another man whose identity could not be ascertained was injured. A Rescue 1122 ambulance shifted the injured to the Sahiwal District Headquarters Hospital.