KATHMANDU, Sept 23: Agriculture Inputs Company Limited (AICL) has invited bids for the transport of chemical fertilizers which Bangladesh is providing to Nepal on a refundable basis.
The new move by the government authorised body has come at a time when the transplanted paddy is almost ready for harvest. The farmers were unable to get the agriculture input when they needed them the most.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, the AICL issued a public notice a few days ago asking firms to submit bids to bring the fertilizer from Bangladesh. “The company to be selected has been asked to import the fertilizer within a week,” said Hari Bahadur KC, spokesperson for the ministry.
The government, in its attempt to save face, has been blaming Shailung Enterprises Pvt Ltd, Lalitpur, and Honiko Multiple Pvt Ltd, Kathmandu, the companies contracted to supply chemical fertilizers for this rainy season, for the short supply now. The government has even scrapped the contract with these companies and has been mulling to blacklist them.
However, the companies have been defending themselves arguing that the supply was delayed because the government awarded the contract for the job late. According to the companies, they were contracted to supply fertilizer only for the next season.
Following the incident, the government has been trying to import fertilizers from Bangladesh with a promise to refund it later. According to a ministry source, India has given its word to allow the movement of Nepal-bound fertilizer carriers to pass through its land.
Three weeks ago, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in a telephone conversation, urged his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh HasinaWazed to help Nepal with the fertilizer supply as the country is reeling under an acute shortage at a time when the demand is at the peak. The government has sought Bangladesh’s support for 50,000 tons of urea to Nepal.