Guwahati: Assam Agriculture Minister Atul Bora has said that his department is working on various strategies at all levels of the fertilizer supply chain to check any black marketing or over-pricing of fertilizers in the state.

“We are aware that farmers at times have to buy fertilizers at more than stipulated prices due to involvement of some nefarious elements. We have been dealing strictly with all such elements and have worked out a strategy to ensure that black marketing is stopped and no farmer has to pay more than the government fixed rates,” he told a press conference on Tuesday.

The department is working at three levels in the supply chain first, where farmers buy fertilizers from the retailers, the second level between wholesalers and retailers, and the third between fertilizer companies and dealers/ wholesalers, the minister said.

At the level where farmers directly buy the fertilizer from the retailers, accepting payment only through Point of Sale (POS) machine by the retailer and handing the receipt to the buyer is being made mandatory, failing which the license of the retailer could be cancelled, Bora said.

He added that the fertilizer companies have to provide the POS machine to the retailers and the district deputy commissioner will be in charge of ensuring compliance of this directive.

“Among other regulations at this first level is that the retailers have to get their retail ID from the fertilizer producing companies, display the rates and stock of fertilizers available at their store, and meet specific criteria for getting license as a fertilizer retailer,” he said.

At the second level where the wholesalers provide the fertilizers to the retailers, all transaction through Direct Benefit Transfer, as mandated by the Central government, has to be made, proper stock books by both the wholesalers and the retailers have to be maintained, and steps are also being initiated to ensure that a single wholesaler does not control the supply of fertilizer beyond a specific area, the minister said.

The third category which involves the fertilizer producer to the wholesaler level, Bora said it has been observed that the producers do not supply the fertilizer to the wholesalers at their godowns as is the rule, which leads to additional cost for the wholesaler in transportation that is ultimately passed to the farmers.

“This has to stop and the producers have to abide by the rule of delivering the fertilizer to the godowns of the wholesalers,” Bora said.

Among other measures at this level is ensuring supply of fertilizer to each district as per requirement and for railway rack points in the state for even distribution of fertilizers to the wholesalers, he added.

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