IFFCO supporters and cooperative fraternity have smelled a rat. The world’s largest fertilizer cooperative is being accused of selling less urea in a bag. It is a plain case of hauling IFFCO over the coals as its unhindered growth excites envy, they assert.
It bears recall that a farmer of Rajkot in Gujarat alleged that an IFFCO co-op society gave him only 42 kg of NPK fertilizer and charged for 50 kg. The matter went viral thanks to the vested interests. IFFCO MD Dr U S Awasthi got to know of the allegation in Dubai where he was resting up with his family after a hectic farmers’ campaign.
Looking at the picture Awasthi’s experienced eyes immediately noticed the difference in the colour of thread used to stitch the fertilizer bag. He also took to social media and said it is not IFFCO’s bag as while IFFCO bag is stitched with green thread, this one has been done with white chord. His tweet read “The bag of IFFCO is packed and sealed with green thread and the man posing with 42 kg bag on social media seems to have sealed it with white thread. So in this case it is quite clear that the bag was opened by someone after it was measured and packed at the organisation’s headquarters,” Dr Awasthi tweeted.
Nevertheless, MD asked his team to investigate the matter thoroughly. What emerged was simple – bags were bought by a co-op society from the IFFCO warehouse and in the process 4-5 bags got torn. The local society re-stitched it without realizing that it has less of fertilizer than the stipulated limit.
Following investigation, IFFCO sent a team led by its Area Manager to locate the farmer who first put the matter on whatsapp that was made viral by the vested interests. Besides IFFCO, the Chairman of co-op society on its letterhead, offered a written apology. The Deputy Director of Agriculture also accompanied IFFCO team and met the farmer. The matter for all practical purposes ended here but no it did not.
Those eager to rundown co-op body’s success became active on social media and began to tweet against IFFCO and its MD so much so that it even caught the attention of Union Chemical and Fertilizer Minister Anant Kumar who tweeted “Pls investigate on a priority basis.”
Cooperators, Indian Cooperative talked to say, the way a local issue was highlighted proves the theory of conspiracy to tarnish the image of IFFCO.
Besides, the elections in Gujarat have also to do with blowing the matter out of proportion, say a few political commentators. They want to gherao the BJP govt for selling underweight fertilizer to farmers. The fact that more than IFFCO, the govt is being disparaged on social media proves our point, they argue.
In a press release to clarify the matter, IFFCO wrote “Over the past fifty years, IFFCO has flown across the world voice of co-operative power of farmers. In past 50-years the relationship between general farmers and affiliation with cooperative society have increased approximately 1,000 times which is the result of binding the deep trust between cooperatives.”
“It is a matter of pride that farmers and cooperative union are part of IFFCO and therefore IFFCO products attempt here to solve minor problems in reaching customer farmers treat their personal responsibility. Recently, we went to found our colleague was given an IFFCO fertiliser bag which broke somewhere between the warehouse and shop, which led to the leakage of urea. As a result, the customer who took the fertiliser bag received about 42 kg of urea instead of 50 kg” ,it read.
“IFFCO across the country has gained credibility and it has been possible to continue awareness of quality”, it added.
“Since last 50-years there are no instances when customers have received the product with issues related to packaging and weight. IFFCO is committed to delivering to customers to compensate the moral responsibility for the incident and assure that no such incident occurs in near future”, it concluded.