Fertilizer Flying Squads have conducted over 370 surprise inspections across 15 states and union territories under the multipronged measures being taken by Department of Fertilizers, Government of India for deterrence against any malpractices and ensuring quality fertilisers for the farmers, under the directions of the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya. These measures have resulted in averting the diversion and black marketing of fertilisers in the country.
Special teams of dedicated officers called Fertilizer Flying Squads (FFS) have been formed to keep a strict vigil and to check diversion, black marketing, hoarding and supply of sub-standard quality of fertilisers across the country, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers said in a statement on Tuesday.
The surprise inspections across 15 states and union territories included mixture units, Single Superphosphate (SSP) units and NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) units. Consequentially, 30 FIRs have been registered for the diversion of urea, and 70,000 bags have been seized of suspected urea (from Gujarat, Kerala, Haryana, Rajasthan, Karnataka (excl. GSTN seizure). Of which 26,199 bags have been disposed of as per FCO guidelines. The FFS have also inspected three border districts of Bihar (Araria, Purnia and West Champaran) and 3 FIRs have been filed against urea diverting units; 10 including 3 mixture manufacturing units in border districts have been de-authorised, the ministry further informed.
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The 112 mixture manufacturers have been deauthorised due to several discrepancies and lapses found in documentation and procedures. Sample testing has also been ramped up with 268 samples tested as of now, of which 89 (33 per cent) have been declared sub-standard and 120 (45 per cent) found with neem oil content. For the first time, 11 persons have been jailed under Prevention of Blackmarketing and Maintenance of Supplies (PBM) Act for the diversion and black marketing of urea in the last year. Several other legal and administrative proceedings have also been exercised by states through the Essential Commodities (EC) Act and Fertilizer Control Order (FCO), the statement reads.
Inspections by Fertilizer Flying Squads
|No. of Units|
|State||Mixture Fertilizer Units||Urea Diversion Units||SSP||Exporter|
These steps have resulted in keeping a check on the diversion of urea meant for farmers for agricultural purposes. Besides agriculture, urea is also used in many other industries too, like UF resin/glue, plywood, resin, crockery, moulding powder, cattle feed, dairy and industrial mining explosives. Any illegal diversion of this highly subsidised urea meant for the farmers and agriculture for non-agriculture and industrial purposes by many private entities results in a shortage of urea meant for farmers.
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Apart from these, new innovative practices are being encouraged, such as new mixture modules that have been developed in Integrated Fertilize Management System (IFMS) by Department of Fertilizers. This would help in spreading awareness amongst farmers about the quality of fertilisers along with other online services available on the portal. A strict vigil is now being undertaken for ensuring the quality of products as well as licenses. Due to such relentless efforts, there has been an increase in demand for Technical Grade Urea. Due to fewer licenses being issued by states for mixture manufacturing, many of the existing mixture manufacturing units have shifted to selling bio and organic fertilisers, thus promoting natural farming to reduce the consumption of chemical fertilisers, according to the ministry.
Proactive measures have not only benefitted the farmers but have also created cross-country demand for India’s fertilisers. Stoppage of cross-border smuggling of urea has consequently led to neighbouring countries requesting India for urea imports to their respective countries.