Chandigarh, Oct 7: Taking a serious note of the UPA government’s failure to develop, expand or revamp existing fertilizer manufacturing units, resulting in fall in production, Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal Monday said this had led to an outgo of Rs.79,743 crore by way of subsidy.
Quoting figures of a draft note of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the fertilizer sector, Badal, also Punjab deputy chief minister, said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had failed to increase production, which resulted in import of 475.29 lakh tonnes of fertilizers during last nine years and an outgo of Rs.79,743 crore by way of subsidies.
“Instead of taking some concrete steps to increase production, the Congress-led UPA opted for transferring this burden on the poor peasantry by decontrolling the fertilizer sector,” he said in a statement here.
Badal said the subsidy could be saved and used for the farmers of the country if the UPA government had assured supply of natural gas on a long-term basis to the fertilizer industry, revamped pipeline connectivity and ensured investment and modernisation of fertilizer plants to increase production.
He alleged that after creating this mess in the fertilizer sector, the UPA government was covering up its failure by transferring the burden of this loss to the already burdened and debt-ridden farmers.
“The agriculture sector is subsidized all over the world but the UPA government is hell-bent upon squeezing even the last drop of blood of peasantry with series of anti-farmer measures,” he further alleged.
Punjab, which has only 1.54 percent of the country’s geographical area, contributes nearly 60 percent of the food grains to the national kitty.