Agri teams to investigate adultery in fertilizers

Agra: Following complaints of adulteration in fertilizers, district magistrate NG Ravi Kumar has constituted a team of agriculture department officials to investigate the matter. The team, led by district agriculture officials, has started conducting raids on shops selling fertilizers.
According to agriculture department officials, in Agra district around 2.83 hectare land is used for agricultural activities. Going by the data available, the annual consumption of fertilizers in the district includes 8,100 tonne of urea, 5,800 tonne of diammonium phosphate (DAP) and 2,700 tonne of potash. The district has 665 registered shops selling seeds and fertilizers.

Recently, several cases of adulterated fertilizers being sold to farmers has surfaced in the district. The agriculture department has earlier conducted a raid on a warehouse in Tehra locality and seized adulterated fertilizers from there. During investigation, the officials found that the adulterated fertilizer was supplied from Mathura district. The warehouse was sealed and a police complaint was lodged by the department. On Thursday, officials conducted raids on seven fertilizer shops. The owners downed the shutters and fled to evade capture. The department has cancelled the licences of these centres.

District agriculture officer Rampravesh Verma said, “Our teams are regularly conducted raids on fertilizer shops. We are asking farmers to contact the department in case of any suspicion of adulteration in fertilizers.”

Farmers can easily diagnose adulteration in fertilizers. The most commonly used fertilizer — DAP — is hard, granular, brown or black in color and does not easy to break. If some granules of DAP is rubbed with lime, it emits a sharp unpleasant odour. If it is heated slowly on a hot plate, it swells. If these do not happen, the DAP is adulterated.

Likewise, potash, a white salt-like reddish mixture, should turn into sticky lumps if moistened. If dissolved in water and a reddish color floats on the surface, then it is adulterated.