Min­is­ter al­leges seed scam in pes­ti­cide deaths

The Free Press Journal - - MUMBAI -

Leader of op­po­si­tion Dhanan­jay Munde blamed the nexus be­tween BT cot­ton seed pro­ducer com­pa­nies and the rul­ing po­lit­i­cal par­ties as be­hind the death of 21 farm­ers due to in­hala­tion of pes­ti­cides in Ya­vat­mal dis­trict last month. He claimed that this is a big cot­ton seed scam and it should be probed.Munde said that he had writ­ten a let­ter to the Chief Min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis and the agri­cul­ture min­is­ter Pan­durang Fund­kar on July 6.

“I tried to bring to no­tice the re­port of Cen­tral In­sti­tute of Cot­ton Re­search (CICR) to the state gov­ern­ment which has stated boll­worm as not re­spond­ing to pes­ti­cides in BT cot­ton. Pink boll­worms have de­vel­oped im­mu­nity to­wards pes­ti­cides be­ing sprayed on BT cot­ton seeds,” said Munde and added that hence he sug­gested that ei­ther the state has to bring an al­ter­na­tive to BT cot­ton seed or has to change the pes­ti­cides.

“I had also sug­gested to the state to take a pol­icy de­ci­sion about seeds and pes­ti­cides, and also con­duct an aware­ness pro­gramme among farm­ers to avoid any haz­ardous sit­u­a­tions. How­ever, my let­ter was ig­nored,” he said.

Munde blamed the seed com­pa­nies for do­nat­ing huge amounts to the rul­ing party, who are hence against tak­ing any ac­tion. How­ever, the Chief Min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis rub­bished th­ese al­le­ga­tions.

Mean­while, Dr K R Kran­thi of Nag­pur based CICR had sub­mit­ted its re­port to the state gov­ern­ment in De­cem­ber last year.

The re­port has stated that blue boll­worm has de­vel­oped im­mu­nity over the past ten years and BT cot­ton seeds which were sup­posed to be strong­est failed be­fore this boll­worm. This has re­sulted 80 to 90 per cent loss of cot­ton grown us­ing BT seeds. Munde said, “It is the time to re­think the use of BT seed else, farm­ers will use more con­cen­trated pes­ti­cides to kill the boll­worm and they will die.”

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