35,469 sub-standard samples of fertilisers found in five years
New Delhi: It seems the government's attempt to put a check on fertilizer adulteration is going into the vain as 35,469 samples of fertilizers have been declared sub-standard in the last five years.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar in reply to a question in Lok Sabha said that total 6,91,361 samples were analysed from 2015-16 to 2019-20 and out of that 35,469, which is 5.13 per cent of the total samples, were found sub-standard.
In reply to a question asked by Congress MP Uttam Kumar Reddy, who represents Nalgonda constituency in Telangana, the agriculture minister told the House that of the total violations, the prosecution has been launched in 1,096 cases and conviction has been awarded in five cases.
However, he maintained that under the Fertiliser (Control) Order, 1985 (FCO), the state governments are empowered to appoint fertiliser inspectors for the enforcement of the provisions of the FCO.
The fertiliser inspectors are empowered to draw the samples and send the same for testing to laboratories notified/specified under FCO, 1985 and there are 83 fertiliser testing laboratories in the country, he said in his reply.
As per the data provided by the agriculture ministry, out of 1,31,785 samples, which were analysed, 6,486 samples were found sub-standard in 2015-16.
Notably, when in 2015 the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had completed one year in his office on May 25, the government had made it must for all fertiliser companies to supply only neem-coated urea. The adulterated samples increased further to 7,265 in the year 2016-17. It reduced marginally in 2017-18 and 2018-19 as 7,102 and 7,150 adulterated samples were found in respective years.
In 2019-20, the sub-standard samples of fertilisers increased to 7,466 out of the total 1,45,194 analysed samples.
In cases of pesticides, Tomar said, during the last five years, 3,38,182 samples were analysed and 3,971 prosecutions have been launched against firms and dealers whose samples were found sub-standard.