OUR STAFF REPORTER LAHORE The farmers associations, putting the whole responsibility on the federal government, have blamed it for urea shortage in the country, saying that the crisis is self-created. Addressing the Aiwan-e-Waqt , Dr Tariq Bucha, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, Ihsan Ganjiyal and Ch Akhtar Farooq Mayo, strongly criticised the gas distribution policy of the government, saying that imprudent decisions taken by policymakers have hit farmers hard. They said shortfall of over 1.2 million tons of urea was being witnessed in Rabi 2011-12 alone which was bound to affect crops of wheat, oilseed and gram. They said a dent in production of these crucial food crops would simply mean their shortage and price-hike in the days to come. They said the federal government took a wrong decision by suspending gas supplies to fertiliser sector, completely ignoring the interest of farming community. They added that use of fertiliser was indispensable for harvesting a good crop and the government forgot this basic principle of agronomy. They demanded the authorities concerned ensure maximum gas supplies to fertiliser plants with a view to minimising the shortfall of urea. They claimed that import of about one million tons fertilizer could have been avoided during Rabi 2011-12 had federal government been able to provide sanctioned gas supply to local urea manufacturing plants. They warned that bad strategy of various departments had led to severe shortage of urea fertiliser in the country which would ultimately result in reduction of crops production during the current Rabi season. They expressed resentment over the shortage and price-hike of fertiliser in the market, blaming authorities concerned for utter mismanagement that leads to crisis of urea in the country. They said priority should have been given to fertiliser sector in provision of gas after domestic consumers. However, he regretted that the government had failed to provide smooth supply of gas to fertiliser manufacturing plants, causing extremely less production of urea. They said owing to such anti-farmers decisions taken by present rulers, price of 50 kg urea bag had soared by almost three times during the last couple of years, inflicting maximum damage to agriculture sector.