Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 9
When officials of the Haryana Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Department sprayed insecticide to kill the locust swarm that had settled on the fields in Hodal, on the night of June 27, little did they know they were spraying just water.
A day earlier on June 26, the department had undertaken extensive spraying with tractor-mounted pumps and fire tenders and claimed to have eliminated 30 per cent of the swarm at Rewari. The quality control Inspectors of the department took samples of the insecticide at Palwal and its Sonepat office, procured from a Jaipur-based supplier. Upon testing, one of the samples was found to contain zero per cent chlorpyrifos, while the other sample contained 9.45 per cent of the pesticide instead of the required 20 per cent.
“The entire stock of the pesticide supplied has been confiscated and the firm blacklisted. The authorities in Rajasthan have been approached to cancel the firm’s licence,” said Sanjeev Kaushal, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture. He said the insecticide used in Rewari was supplied by another firm.
In a police complaint, the quality control inspector at Sonepat has sought an FIR against the Jaipur firm and also officials of the Haryana Land Development and Reclamation Corporation, who procured the insecticide. Satpal Kaushik, a farmers’ leader, flayed the “connivance between officials and traders” .
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