TAD NewsDesk, New Delhi: The government has appointed an expert panel to review industry’s objections to the proposed ban on 27 widely used pesticides which are harmful to humans according to officials.
A senior agriculture ministry official, who did not wish to be identified said
“The committee, led by chairman TP Rajendran, former assistant director general of ICAR, is likely to submit its report in three months. His report will decide the fate of those 27 pesticides which the government wants to ban.”
In 2018, the government had already banned 18 of the pesticides from the 66 contentious pesticides which are being reviewed for their toxicity.
In May 2020, the government announced its plan of banning these pesticides. Initially, they gave the industry and pesticide companies 45 days to respond to the proposal. Later, after the intervention of agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, the deadline was extended to 90 days from the date of notification. As the matter had no resolution even after 90 days, now the decision of the expert committee is awaited to have a take on the subject.
One of the officials said,
“The government’s intention to ban pesticides created a flutter in the industry. The industry lobbied hard to defer the ban, which resulted in delay.”
Moreover, he added
“The government sought proof and studies from companies manufacturing these pesticides that can show that these chemicals are safe. Now, these will be vetted scientifically by the committee.”
Among these 27 pesticides – which are widely used, and some of these were used to kill locusts recently – industry and companies are said to have strongly defended 23, by submitting scientific evidence.
Harish Mehta, senior advisor, Crop Care Federation of India, an industry body commented,
“We don’t have much objection if four pesticides – methomyl, butachlor, dicofol and dinocap – are banned. But we strongly defend usage of the remaining 23 pesticides.”
He said the 27 pesticides comprise 12 insecticides, eight fungicides and seven herbicides, involving 130 formulations.
“All these pesticides are highly effective. We export pesticides worth Rs 23,000 crore to several countries including the US and these 27 pesticides constitute 40% of it. We don’t think these are harmful enough to be banned,” added Mr Mehta.
The pesticide manufacturers also fear that the ban may hand over a ready export market to Chinese companies, which are competing directly with Indian companies in this space.
The banning of the pesticides will put an additional financial burden on farmers as the cost of these contentious pesticides range between Rs 275-450 a litre as against the cost of their alternatives which are being imported at Rs 1500-2000 a litre.
The decision of the expert committee will give further direction and light on the case.
Source – Economic Times