Maharashtra to file FIRs against seed cos after bollworm attacks

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on Friday announced that it would file police complaints against seed companies like Monsanto, which supplied seeds of BT Cotton, the crops from which were destroyed in a large-scale bollworm attack.

Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service
Mumbai, December 8

The Maharashtra government on Friday announced that it would file police complaints against seed companies like Monsanto, which supplied seeds of BT Cotton, the crops from which were destroyed in a large-scale bollworm attack.

Maharashtra's Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil said on Friday more than 70 per cent of the cotton crop in Vidarbha has been destroyed due to the bollworm attack. He added that companies like Monsanto had provided the BT Cotton seeds with the promise that they were immune to attacks by the pest. The Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Swavalamban Mission, a state government body, has estimated that the output of cotton in Maharashtra would fall to 43.10 lakh quintal as compared to 78.61 quintals in December 2016.

The opposition parties are however demanding that the Maharashtra government pay compensation to cotton farmers on the lines of the ongoing farm loan waiver extended to cultivators. The Nationalist Congress Party is demanding that the government provide a compensation of Rs 25,000 per hectare for farmers whose crop has been destroyed in
the bollworm attack. NCP leader Dhananjay Munde said his party would hold protests in the cotton-growing areas of Vidarbha to force the government raise compesation to farmers.

With the opposition parties likely to paralyse the state legislature during the Winter Session to be held in Nagpur from Monday, Chief Ministre Devendra Fadnavis’s government on Friday asked revenue officials to carry out panchnama of crops destroyed in the bollwork attack. “We are working on a compensation package for farmers,” Patil told reporters.

Sources said the state government wanted part of the compensation to come from the seed companies that sold the sub-standard seeds to farmers.

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