Explained: Why Haryana imposed ban on transportation of fodder?

The authorities in Haryana have banned inter-district and inter-state transportation of wheat fodder, insisting they want to meet the local requirements first. But the decision has drawn sharp criticism from the farmer groups and the Opposition. Sukhbir Siwach explains why the ban has been imposed and why the farmers are opposing the same.

What types of bans have been imposed on transportation of fodder?

Two types of bans have been imposed on the transportation of fodder in Haryana. A few districts like Fatehabad and Sirsa have banned transportation even to other districts. The inter-district sale of dry fodder made of straw of wheat, paddy, mustard and gaur has been prohibited for brick-kiln and cardboard factories too. The farmer leaders in Fatehabad claimed the authorities there have even stopped nearly 100 tractor-trolleys at the border of the district. The administration of other districts, including Ambala and Yamunanagar, have banned the transportation of fodder out of the state.

What do the authorities say?

In an order, Sirsa district magistrate Ajay Singh Tomar said that there may be a shortage of fodder for the animals in the district if the same is sent out from the district. In the order, Tomar said: “The situation is likely to worsen in future in the absence of rains. In these circumstances, there would be a need for a lot of fodder in drought-hit areas. To avoid such a scenario, a ban needs to be imposed.”

Haryana Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister JP Dalal claimed the ban has been imposed only on the interstate transportation of fodder in order to meet local needs. Dalal even said that they would not stop the transportation of fodder within the state, adding the inter-state ban would also be lifted after the fulfilment of the state’s requirements.

Why are authorities anticipating a shortage of fodder this year?

There are mainly two reasons: one, more farmers opting for mustard crop in place of wheat in southern Haryana and two, less than usual production of wheat because of early onset of summer coupled with an exceptional rise in mercury this year. The officials believe the adverse weather conditions may affect the output of wheat fodder too. The farmers say shortage of DAP (di-ammonium phosphate) fertiliser has also affected the wheat crop.

Amid shortage of DAP in October 2021, Haryana had witnessed stone pelting on policemen, road blockages and even “loot” of the fertiliser from a private dealer’s outlet in Mahendragarh district of south Haryana. The problem was so acute in South Haryana that the fertiliser was distributed from the police stations. Further, because of geopolitical tensions amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, a perception is building that the wheat prices would increase in near future. In this environment, the authorities want to meet local needs of fodder before allowing the same for other states.

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What do the farmers say?

The farmers are more upset with the restrictions on inter-district transportation of fodder than the inter-state transportation. Kisan Sangharsh Samiti leader Mandeep Nathwan alleged: “In Fatehabad district nearly100 tractor-trolleys loaded with wheat fodder have been stopped from moving out of the district. The transporters of fodder, which includes traders and farmers, are being forced to unload the fodder in the local gaushalas at cheaper prices. The fodder costs Rs 810 per quintal but the transporters are being forced to give it to the gaushalas at the rate of Rs 500 quintal. Why are the authorities not allowing the farmers to earn profit by selling their fodder at higher prices when they are already hit by low production of wheat this year.” On this issue, the farmers also staged a protest in front of Fatehabad DC office Monday.

What is the political reaction to the fodder issue?

Minister JP Dalal said they would intervene if somebody brings the issue of ban on inter-district transportation of fodder in Haryana to his notice. However, Bhiwani-Mahendragarh MP Dharambir Singh has approached the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, urging him to intervene in the matter, while pointing out how the people of his constituency are facing a shortage of fodder. He also pointed at an inter-district ban on transportation of wheat fodder. Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has slammed the government for imposing a ban on the transportation of the fodder, insisting that the farmers should be free to sell their fodder to any place.

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