Kolkata: The state government is taking a proactive step to ensure that farmers in Birbhum do not face any trouble in getting fertilisers during the Kharif season, with Sainthia Rake Point remaining closed for the past three months.
Fertilisers for distribution in Birbhum district reach Sainthia Rake Point, from where it is transported through roadways to distribution points in the entire district. But at present, the railway authorities are carrying out infrastructure development and maintenance work in the rake point, as a result of which it is remaining "temporarily closed" for the past three months.
Asish Banerjee, the state Agriculture minister, held a meeting in this connection with the concerned officials of his department and directed him to take necessary measures to ensure that farmers do not face any problem during the Kharif season.
"Following the directions of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, we cannot allow any situation to arise that would lead to inconvenience of farmers. So, all necessary steps would be taken to ensure that there is no shortage in the supply of fertilisers in the district," he said.
It may be mentioned that fertiliser is required in a huge quantity during the Kharif season that starts with the onset of monsoon and its demand would start going up in the next 15 days. Sources said that the state Agriculture department has planned distribution of around 7,300 MT urea in Birbhum in July itself.
As per the present stock of fertilisers in the district, there is nothing to worry. But the state Agriculture department does not want to take any chance and would be speaking to the railway authorities to urge completion of the infrastructure development and maintenance work as early as possible.
An official in the state secretariat said railway authorities had informed that the Sainthia Rake Point would remain closed for two months from April 5 onward.
"But now it has been almost three months. So, we would be urging the railway authorities, if needed, to resume functioning of the rake point as early as possible and to carry out the maintenance work once again after the Kharif season is over," the official said.
When contacted, an Eastern Railway spokesperson said: "We will look into the matter."
At the same time, the Agriculture department's officials are also coordinating with officials of the authority that provides fertilisers. Keeping an alternative way out ready to ensure that farmers do not face any problem, a suggestion of sending fertilisers for Birbhum district from Kasimbazar Rake Point in Murshidabad has also come up.