Maharashtra bans Bt cotton seeds
PTI Aug 9, 2012, 05.16PM IST
Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti|
Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company|
MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government has banned the sale and distribution of the genetically modified Bt cotton seeds of Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (Mahyco), a partner of US multinational Monsanto, in the state with immediate effect for supplying inferior quality seeds.
"The government has banned the Mahyco company with immediate effect," agriculture commissioner Umakant Dangat told IANS Thursday, when asked about the cancelling of the company's licence. The controller and director, commissionerate of agriculture (Inputs and Quality Control), the licensing authority, took the action late Wednesday under the Maharashtra Cotton Seed Rules, 2010.
The ban comes in the wake of widespread complaints against the company accusing it of supplying inferior quality seeds which aggravated the agrarian crises in rural Maharashtra and spurred suicides among farmers.
Last month the issue was discussed in the state legislature and agriculture minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil then proposed a ban on the sale and distribution of the Bt seeds.
"It is a bold move by the agriculture minister and proves the government has not succumbed to MNC pressures," Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) told IANS.
VJAS has sought a similar ban on 28 companies sub-licensed by MMB for selling the Bt cotton seeds, and replacing them with traditional Indian cotton seeds, Tiwari said.
India is now the largest cultivator of Bt Cotton, jumping from 400,000 hectares to 12,600,000 hectares now after it was approved for commercial cultivation in 2002 by the regulator, genetic engineering approval committee of the union environment ministry.
Certain Bt cotton variants are suspected of toxicity, damaging public health and environment, and agriculture activists have been demanding a complete ban on Bt...