Nana Patole says Congress will launch statewide agitations if Central govt doesn’t roll back fertilizer price hike

Describing the price rise of fertilizers as "unfortunate", Maharashtra Congress President Nana Patole on Wednesday demanded that the Central government should immediately roll back the price hike.

Nana Patole also said if the Central government fails to roll back the price hike, his party will stage a statewide protest.

While addressing a press conference, Nana Patole said: "The central government has hiked the prices of fertilizers amid the COVID-19 crisis. As a result, the already distressed farmers are in a state of panic. The central government should immediately withdraw the hike, or else Congress will launch a statewide agitation."

The Maharashtra Congress President also said the BJP is consistently misleading people. "BJP leaders have written to the Union Chemical and Fertilizers Minister, Sadananda Gowda, drawing his attention to the hike in fertilizer prices and also requested him to lower the prices. On one hand, the BJP-led Central government is increasing the prices, and on the other its ministers are writing to Union Chemical and Fertilizers Minister to lower the prices. Fertilizers, which used to cost Rs. 1,200, will now be available at Rs. 1,900. This shows that BJP is not a party of farmers."

On Tuesday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday wrote to Union Chemical and Fertilizers Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, demanding a roll-back of increase in fertilizer prices.

Farmers are reeling under "one of the worst ever" crises as the coronavirus pandemic has impacted people's livelihoods, he said in the letter.

"But I have learnt that instead of extending a helping hand to this distressed community, the Central Government has taken a decision to increase the prices of fertilizers exponentially," said the former agriculture minister.

The "lockdown conditions" have crushed the marketing system and this "unfortunate" decision ahead of the monsoon would hamper pre-sowing agricultural activities and affect the production cost and productivity, he said.

Fuel rates have gone up and a hike in fertilizer prices will "rub salt" in the farmers' wounds, Pawar added.

"The decision is shocking and needs to be reviewed immediately. I shall be happy if you could personally look into the matter and roll back the price rise at the earliest," the letter said.

The NCP chief further said he would "highly appreciate" if more relief was provided to farmers amid the crisis caused by the pandemic.

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