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Government plans to ban 27 pesticides


New Delhi: The government plans to ban 27 widely used pesticides as it regards them to be dangerous for humans and animals, but it will first hear out the manufacturers who say their products are not so harmful.

The government has shortlisted these 27 from the 66 contentious pesticides being reviewed.

“We have released the draft gazette notification for banning these pesticides. Companies may give their objections and representations within 45 days from May 14 before the final notification is issued after review of their objections,” said an agriculture ministry official, who did not wish to be identified.

He said these pesticides, including popular molecules such as monocrotophos, acephate, carbofuran, 2,4-D and carbendazim, have been found to contaminate water bodies and underground water, causing health hazards to humans, animals and honey bees which are known to help in pollination of plants.

“Out of these 66 under review, the government has already banned 18 pesticides in 2018. It is now going to ban 27 more. Another six pesticides are under review while remaining 15 have been found to be safe for use as of now,” said the official.

The government had constituted an expert committee in July 2013 to review these contentious pesticides, which were banned, restricted or withdrawn in one or more countries across the globe but continued to be used in India.

The committee had banned 18 pesticides while recommending continued use of 27 pesticides for want of proof. This was then referred for scientific evaluation to the Registration Committee, which gave its recommendation to the government for banning these chemicals.

However, the industry is not happy with the move and intends to register its strong objection with the government.

“All these pesticides are highly effective. We export pesticides worth Rs 20,000 crore to several countries including the US and these 27 pesticides constitute 70% of it. We don’t think these are harmful enough to be banned,” said R D Shroff, chairman of Crop Care Federation of India (CCFI), a body of agrochemical companies.

R G Agarwal, chairman of Dhanuka Agritech said by banning these chemicals government will not be able to fight against the locust attack which is haunting border areas of Punjab and Rajasthan.

“It’s a death warrant for farmers. If these pesticides are banned crop losses would break the farmers’ back. Many of the banned pesticides are very effecting in fighting locust. The agriculture minister recently asked us to help in controlling locust. With these chemicals out of the shelves, how can farmers kill locusts and other deadly pests?” he said.

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