Maharashtra task force urges Centre to ban killer pesticides

60 farmers died due to insecticide poisoning and over 2,000 are facing serious health issues in Maharashtra. Reuters file photo for representation only

A task force of the Maharashtra government has urged the Centre to accept the proposal to ban poisonous pesticides.

Veteran activist Kishor Tiwari, the chief of Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavalamban Mission, a task force of the government, pointed out that in November 2017, as many as 60 deaths have been reported because of insecticide poisoning.

"The proposal to ban killer pesticides has been sent by the state following Bombay High Court's directives," Tiwari said but expressed fear that the proposal could be junked by Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.

"It is a long pending demand that pesticides that had been banned or restricted in other countries should be banned in India too and recently the Supreme Court has directed the Centre to take a decision on banning 18 pesticides within the next two months. Most of these have been banned in other parts of the world because of their health and ecological impacts," Tiwari added.

Tiwari recalled that a committee headed by Anupam Verma, a retired professor from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), was constituted by the agriculture ministry in August 2013 to review 66 such pesticides. In 2015, the committee had recommended that 12 pesticides be banned and six phased out.

The agriculture ministry had subsequently issued a draft notification in December 2016 on banning the pesticides recommended by the Anupam Verma committee.

But after receiving comments and suggestions, the ministry constituted another committee headed by J S Sandhu of ICAR to look into the suggestions and form an opinion on banning these pesticides.

"The petitioners, however, had informed the Supreme Court that the government should consider banning 99 pesticides that were considered toxic globally. By now the use of pesticides, which took the lives of over 60 farmers and caused serious health problems to more than 2,000, must be banned totally However, the multinational companies marketing these pesticides may influence the Union government and prevent a total ban," Tiwari said.

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Maharashtra task force urges Centre to ban killer pesticides

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