Nuwakot, June 13 :

The use of chemical fertilizers that have been smuggled from India has increased in Nuwakot over the last few years.

Though there are suspicions over the quality of the smuggled urea and DAP fertilizers, there is no authorised government body selling fertilizers and seeds, after the Agricultural Equipment Company (AEC) stopped its operation for the past few years.

Though there is no quality test for the smuggled fertilizers, farmers have to pay double the usual price. Cheap fertilizers that have been provided by the Indian government in nearby Indian villages of the Indo-Nepal border as relief, as well as the low quality fertilizers manufactured by businessmen, have been sold in Nepali markets.

“Trishakti and Kishan brands of Urea fertilizer is being sold for NRs 416 per sack (50 kg) in Indian markers while we purchase the same sack of Urea paying NRs 1,400 in Nepali markets,” lamented Dev Nath Bhatta of Phikuri. The AEC has fixed the price at NRs 802 and 1,280 per sack for Urea and DAP, respectively. In the current fiscal year, 1,450 metric tonnes of Urea and 625 metric tonnes of DAP is being used in the district, suspected Bidur-based AEC office. “Only 200 sacks of DAP fertilizer has been sold from the office this year,” said office chief, Keshav Raj Pandey, adding, “By importing low-quality fertilizers, businessmen are cheating farmers.”

The fertilizers are being imported illegally from Birgunj and Bhairahawa border areas. “Some days ago, police had seized more than 500 sacks of fertilizer, which was being imported illegally. The seized fertilizer was sent to the Internal Revenue Office,” said SI Dibesh Lohani. The police force is failing to punish these businessmen, said a police source.