A tragic incident has highlighted the shortage for urea in the state of Telangana as a 69-year-old farmer, Girmapuram Yellaiah, standing in a queue to procure the fertilizer, collapsed and subsequently died while he was being taken to a local hospital in Dubakka on Thursday. The incident took place in Siddipet district, the home district of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in Telangana.
Yellaiah died while waiting in the queue at the Primary Agricultural Credit Society (PACS). Yellaiah's family alleged that he had been going to the PACS for urea for the last three days. The farmer who was in the long queue along with his wife, collapsed while waiting for his turn.
The death immediately became the cause of a political slugfest with the BJP alleging that there was a shortage of urea in the state due to mismanagement by the state government. The BJP held the government responsible for Yellaiah's death. The party alleged that the Central government had allocated 8.5 lakh metric tonnes of urea though there was a requirement of only 6.5 lakh metric tonnes.
â€śWith almost zero planning of supply and distribution, KCR government has become responsible for the death of a farmer. Lakhs of farmers across the state are facing serious trouble in procuring urea. They are standing painfully in long queues for hours,â€ť said K Krishna Saagar Rao, BJP Telangana spokesperson.
However, agriculture minister S Niranjan Reddy dismissed these charges and said that there is no shortage of urea in any district or mandal.
Speaking about the incident at an event in Hyderabad, the minister said that Yellaiah had died due to a heart attack. â€śIt was a mere coincidence that he was standing in the queue and succumbed, but he didnâ€™t die because he was standing in the queue.â€ť
Responding to the reports of shortage in the urea, Reddy said that in August there was a shortage in urea as some of it was diverted to Karnataka to meet the urgent requirement. â€śThere was a delay for two-three days because of this diversion,â€ť he claimed.
The minister added that there has been a delay in the urea coming from Uttar Pradesh because of floods. â€śThese were the reasons, which now have been resolved,â€ť the minister said. He said that the state government had requested the Centre last month to release the entire allotted quota of 8.5 lakh tonnes but only 3.97 lakh tonnes were released. Of this only 2.12 lakh tonnes urea has reached the farmers.
Speaking to TNM about the shortage of urea, Agriculture Commissioner Rahul Bojja said, â€śThere was a shortage for the month of August, the import of urea was delayed as the vessels didnâ€™t arrive on time due to strong weather conditions.â€ť
He added, â€śFor the month of September we have a requirement of 2 lakh metric tonnes of urea and we have received 14,000 metric tonnes of urea so far,â€ť he said.