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The Indian government on Friday said that subsidised fertiliser was being smuggled out to countries like Nepal and asked state governments to take stringent action, reports PTI.
Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers Srikant Kumar Jena said that smuggling was taking place from different parts of the country.
The government, he said, has written to chief ministers to take stringent action against urea dealers who may be involved in smuggling. States like Uttar Pradesh need to take steps to prevent smuggling, he said.
Explaining the compulsions behind the recent decision to hike urea prices, Mr Jena said that the cost had not changed in the past eight years compared to two price revisions during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rule.
The NDA government had raised urea prices by 20% when global rates were $110 per tonne. International rates have risen three-fold since, warranting a 10% hike in urea prices from 1st April, he said.
"The government has decided to increase the maximum retail price (MRP) of urea by 10% to Rs5,310 per tonne from the current Rs4,830 per tonne with effect from 1 April 2010," he said, adding that urea would remain under government control.
The minister said it was difficult to predict the quantum of fertiliser subsidy for the next fiscal as consumption was not known.