Nation Current Affairs 04 Nov 2016 Telangana: Green fer ...

Telangana: Green fertiliser comes laced with chemicals

Published Nov 4, 2016, 1:45 am IST
Updated Nov 4, 2016, 6:54 am IST
Farmers using ‘bio-fertiliser’ cheated by manufacturers.
The Insecticide Act covers 294 chemicals, and a plant protection licence is a must to use them. (Representational image)
 The Insecticide Act covers 294 chemicals, and a plant protection licence is a must to use them. (Representational image)

Hyderabad: The AP agriculture department, aided by Telangana state officials, has been cracking down on the Rs 500 crore bio-products industry following complaints of farmers being cheated with bio-fertilisers that are laced with chemicals.

Officials have been raiding manufacturers in both states as they are allegedly selling bio-fertilisers, antifeedant and pest repellents that contain chemicals.
In AP, 42 cases have been booked after 1,400 samples were tested at the National Institute of Plant Health Management at Hyderabad. TS officials, too, have started taking action.

AP additional director of agriculture G. Vinaichand said, “Agricultural officers lifted samples and sent them to NIPHM. Based on the report we have booked cases. We have formed special squads, which are not only acting against distributors but also on the manufacturers in TS.”

The Insecticide Act covers 294 chemicals, and a plant protection licence is a must to use them. Experts said import of these chemicals was expensive and manufacturers needed product licensing from the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee and a manufacturing licence from the state agriculture department. To avoid this, manufacturers import chemicals from China using “bio-products” as a platform.

Mr S. Ratna Chari, deputy director of the AP agriculture department, said, “Bio-product manufacturers gave a declaration in the High Court that their products did not contain chemicals and they thus did not come under the purview of the Insecticides Act. As per the Insecticides Act, manufacturers using listed chemicals should get licences and register with the agriculture department. These bio-product manufacturers are unlicensed.”

Read: Health impact is not checked

He said, “If there are 50 good companies, there are around 100 to 150 others that have mushroomed and are indulging in irregularities. According to one claim, the industry is worth Rs 500 crore to Rs600 crore.”

Additional director of TS agriculture department K. Vijay Kumar said, “We are in the process of taking action. AP agriculture teams are in Hyderabad checking the manufacturing units and we are assisting them too. As soon as we get information, we will act.”

Manufacturing and sale of bio-products to farmers has been increasing lately as there is no licensing authority. The increased use is being attributed to higher prices for organic foods and to avoid rejection of export-oriented agriculture commodities.

The All India Coordinated Research Project Biological Control at Prof. Jayashankar Telangana Agricultural University has asked the government to discourage the use of bio-products and bring awareness among farmers.

Dr S.J. Rehman, principal scientist of AIRCB Biological Control said, “Bio-pesticides and bio-fertilisers, which are approved and licensed, are different from these so called bio-products sold to farmers. We have been asking farmers to use only registered and licensed plant protection products.”

Industry says bio norms are very stringent
The Agri Biotech Manufacturers Association has asked the agriculture department to distinguish between spurious bio-products and genuine ones. It said that sales had halted due to the “false cases” booked by the agriculture department and manufacturers were not in position to pay sales tax; each manufacturer would be paying between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 40 lakh as sales tax.

The association president Dr J.V. Ramana Rao and general secretary G. Yugandhar Rao, said, “We are willing to help and regulate the manufacturing and marketing of genuine bio products.” They faulted the testing procedure of the National Institute of Pl-ant Health Management.

“The reports show milligram per kilogram, which is less than 0.00001 per cent; this is much less than those in drinking water, coconut milk and milk. As the chemical pesticide lab is being used for testing bio-products, the percentage of all pesticides will show in the report. We are requesting the department to analyse the samples in labs where no pesticides are being tested.”

It alleged that the department was filing false cases and FIRs and was harassing small and medium industries. “Though the court has ordered action according to the Insecticides Act, we are shocked to see such high handedness from the department,” it said. Manufactures claimed that bio-products were helpful for production of chemical pesticide free organic products.

Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad


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