Fertilizer crisis: government suspends 2 DAOs, FIR filed against 287 retailers


District Agriculture Officers (DAOs) in Rohtas and Araria have been suspended and action taken against many others for their alleged involvement in the black fertilizer trade in the state, the Bihar Agriculture Minister Amarendra Pratap Singh before the State Legislative Council.

Responding to questions from Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) member Ram Chandra Purbe and Janata Dal (United) leader Sanjiv Kumar Singh, the minister said the department has initiated the process of suspending 10 block agricultural officers and of two agricultural coordinators and launched disciplinary proceedings against them. . “In addition, the salary of a joint director rank officer and two other DAOs have been withheld and they have been given a notice of demonstration by the state government,” the minister said.

The RJD and JD(U) MLCs had alleged a shortage of important fertilizers including urea which had led to rampant moonlighting of manure and farmers in Bihar being forced to buy them at exorbitant.

RJD’s Sunil Kumar Singh claimed that Bihar received about 10 lakh metric tons less fertilizer than last year, while Purbe claimed that fertilizers were smuggled into Nepal in collusion with agricultural agents and intermediate.

The minister informed the council that a total of 8,860 raids were carried out, 1,492 cases of irregularities were detected and 287 FIRs were filed against fertilizer vendors across the state during the kharif and rabi seasons. from 2021-22. “The licenses of 448 fertilizer suppliers have been cancelled, while around 700 companies have been asked to clarify accusations of irregularities. The Farmer Helpline received up to 329 complaints of irregularities and 58 cases were found to be true, while eight FIRs were filed,” the minister said.

Incentives for growing lemongrass

Agriculture Minister AP Singh said the state agriculture department will undertake a campaign to encourage farmers to grow lemongrass and get financial assistance from the government to boost their income significantly.

Responding to a question from JD(U) member Niraj Kumar in the Legislative Council, the minister said that the government was providing a grant of 20,000/hectare to farmers for growing lemongrass, the by-products of which, mainly oil, are in high demand by other states including Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Bengal.

The minister said that currently, lemongrass is being grown on 30 hectares in the Barachatti area of ​​Gaya under the special central assistance program in coordination with the horticulture and forestry departments. “The state government may consider giving grants to entrepreneurs who want to invest in processing lemongrass and other aromatic plants,” he said.


    Subhash Pathak is Special Correspondent of Hindustan Times with over 15 years of journalism experience, covering issues related to governance, legislature, police, Maoism, urban and road infrastructure in Bihar and Jharkhand.
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