Plugging the loopholes
When Union Minister of State for Shipping (Independent Charge) and Chemical & Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya visited the state last week, there was hardly any rumble of the event. Even some local news organizations reported the visit in some inner pages and the state government too did not bother to publicize his visit.
However, given the visit and the subsequent follow up of his visit several important issues have come to the fore which we need to discuss and bring in the public domain. One was the step motherly treatment meted out to the agriculture and other allied sectors and the second one, the most important- is the increased use of chemical fertilizers by the farmers and growers here.
The first issue about the use of spurious fertilizers and non-availability of fertilizers was immediately addressed as the Minister promised to explore avenues to set up storage facility for fertilizers for creating buffer stock and ensure availability during peak season in the entire state.
However, an important feature also came up during the follow up meeting that was held on Sunday in New Delhi and that is the problems being faced in the fertilizer movement in the state. The state has miserably failed to augment the current infrastructure, including requirement of additional rake points.
The government departments tasked to look into the requirements of the farming community have failed to ensure timely stocking of fertilizers, particularly in the valley in view of the closure of Jammu Srinagar National Highway during winter and inclement weather conditions.
Neither the State Agriculture Production Department nor the fertilizer supplying companies have adhered to the guidelines and deadlines to bring transparency in the fertilizer business and to ensure timely supply of quality fertilizers to the farmers.
No monitoring or correct data entry regarding fertilizer stocks, sale records and use by the wholesalers and retailers in their respective areas has been maintained since the past three decades and no such effort has been put in place to ensure things to be done in a professional manner.
Interestingly, the government’s failure has added to the miseries of the common man here as the unlimited use of chemical fertilizers has been affecting the health of the local population here. Not only has the Valley been witnessing increased incidence of fatal diseases but the unmindful use of chemical fertilizers is playing havoc with our environs as well.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is still naïve to the use of organic or bio-fertilizers in all agricultural and allied activities. The use of organic fertilizers is becoming the order of the day even in developing nations, but here in our state the officials are least bothered to get it promoted.
The fact can be proved by an assertion that no campaign has been kickstarted highlighting the importance of inculcating sustainable and organic agricultural practices among the farmers and informing them about the indiscriminate and injudicious use of chemical fertilizers.
The department of agriculture needs to wake up and actively promote use of organic/bio-fertilizers in the state, and engage with agriculture experts to devise strategies to rope in farmers and growers to promote organic agricultural practices.