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Gehlot Faces First Big Challenge as Rajasthan Farmers Protest Against Urea Shortage

Farmers, along their families, were seen in long queues and moving towards the counters at urea distribution points in Rajasthan's Hadauti region.

News18.com

Updated:December 21, 2018, 3:21 PM IST
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New Delhi: Days after Rajasthan's new chief minister Ashok Gehlot announced farm loan waivers, farmers were seen protesting against the shortage of urea in various villages in Hadauti region on Thursday.

Hundreds of Farmers, along their families, were seen in long queues and moving towards the counters at urea distribution points. The state government has sought Centre’s intervention in the matter.

While in most places the urea distribution was carried out peacefully, there were reports of a stampede in which three farmers sustained injuries. The incident occurred during token distribution in Dei police station premises of Bundi district.

The crowd swelled to around 3,000 in some places and the police had to use force to disperse the unruly farmers. Lokesh Tiwari, an activist, continued protest on the third day on Thursday in front of Chambal Fertilizers and Chemical limited in Gadepan area, demanding adequate supply of urea to the farmers.

Sources told News18 that against the total target of two lakh metric tons of urea supply in Hadauti for Rabi crop, the agriculture department claimed to have supplied 1.45 lakh metric ton.

Officials from the Fertilizer Association of India said the non-availability of railway rakes led to urea shortage in the state. “There is a shortage of urea in the northern states due to the non-availability of railway rakes. The material is piled up on the ports and urea transportation is delayed by 20 to 25 days,” said an official from Fertilizer Association of India.

Gehlot on Thursday evening said the government will take all necessary measures to meet the urea demand of the farmers and will also co-ordinate with the Centre about the issue.

Acting on the directions of the chief minister, chief secretary D B Gupta had a telephonic conversation with the central fertilizer secretary. Abhay Kumar, principal secretary, agriculture, was also sent to Delhi in the same regard.

Government authorities said that nearly 5 lakh 62 thousand metric tonnes of urea is already in the market and another 2 lakh metric tonne would be supplied very soon.

In the run up to the 2019 polls, it is becoming more and more evident that farm distress will drive the electoral preferences of a major chunk of voters.

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