|The government has finally found a solution to curb illegal diversion of highly subsidized urea for industrial use by dewp972ing that 100% urea both imported and produced in the country will have to be neem coated. Sources said 100% neem coating would help save at least Rs. 4,500 crore annually on two accounts – reduced demand of the nitrogen-based fertilizer by checking illegal diversion and decline in use of neem-coated urea in comparison to normal one. Government has already made it mandatory for 75% neem coating of urea. India annually uses about 31 million tonnes of urea and about 8-9 million tonnes is imported. On an average the subsidy for each tonne of urea is around Rs. 15,000 crore. Rough estimates suggest at least one million tonne of urea is illegally diverted for industrial use and hence stopping this illegal act would mean saving of about Rs.1,500 crore.
Moreover, shifting from usage of normal urea to neem-coated urea is also likely to reduce the demand by 10%. This would help save another Rs. 3,000 crore annually. “Neem coated urea is unfit for industrial use while this is good for the soil, crop and beneficial to farmers. The wastage is less and it works as a bio-pestiwp972e. Even the extent of ground water pollution is less. We are also launching a campaign to make farmers aware that they will face action if they are caught selling subsidized urea to industrial units,” said joint secretary (fertilizer) Sham Lal Goyal.