Mumbai, May 18 (PTI) NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday wrote to Union Chemical and Fertilisers Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, demanding a roll-back of increase in fertiliser prices.

Farmers are reeling under "one of the worst ever" crises as the coronavirus pandemic has impacted people's livelihoods, he said in the letter.

"But I have learnt that instead of extending a helping hand to this distressed community, the Central Government has taken a decision to increase the prices of fertilisers exponentially," said the former agriculture minister.

The "lockdown conditions" have crushed the marketing system and this "unfortunate" decision ahead of the monsoon would hamper pre-sowing agricultural activities and affect the production cost and productivity, he said.

Fuel rates have gone up and a hike in fertiliser prices will "rub salt" in the farmers' wounds, Pawar added.

"The decision is shocking and needs to be reviewed immediately. I shall be happy if you could personally look into the matter and roll back the price rise at the earliest," the letter said.

The NCP chief further said he would "highly appreciate" if more relief was provided to farmers amid the crisis caused by the pandemic.

He also tweeted the letter, tagging the Prime Minister's Office.

Earlier in the day, Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Dada Bhuse told PTI that the state has written to the Union government demanding a reduction in the prices of fertilisers.

Notably, the Centre had recently said it was considering subsidies to offset a rise in global prices of raw materials of phosphatic and potassic (P&K) fertilisers.

Agriculture expert Vijayanna Borade said the government gave Rs 2,000 each to farmers through the Kisan Samman Yojana, but "neutralised" this help with the fertiliser price hike.