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Posted at: Jun 16, 2019, 7:38 AM; last updated: Jun 16, 2019, 7:38 AM (IST)

Pesticide overdose goes unchecked in state

An FIR was lodged against suppliers of spurious pesticides in city

Aparna Banerji
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, June 15

While an FIR was lodged against suppliers of spurious pesticides in the city on Wednesday, the use of spurious pesticide sellers in the district on Wednesday, spurious pesticides are being sold with impunity in the state increasingly as – a lucrative business – the pesticide sellers continue to operate openly.

While the state has one of the most notorious tales of contamination of ground water due to pesticides in the region which is leaving a trail of cancer deaths in many villages, farmers say notwithstanding the occasional arrests, the quality and measure of pesticide being sprayed onto fields is unregulated and largely unmonitored.

Farmers also complain the government’s identification of those willingly taking up organic farming, is slow and does not include any rewards or subsidies, causing initial losses, which cause many to give up.

While the toxic and internationally notorious herbicide Glysophate (a chemical known to be a group 2A cancer causing agent) was banned by the state government in October 2018, there are other insecticides and herbicides – recommended by PAU experts – which are currently is use in the state.

The most commonly used herbicides approved for use by the government during paddy season are Butachlor and Pretilachlor.

A total of 40 to 50 insecticides and over a dozen herbicides are in common use in the state currently.

Approved insecticides in use include Chlorpyrifos and Imdachloprid among others. For the cotton crop insecticides Dichlorvos and Decametrin are commonly used in the state.

The insecticide caught in Jalandhar on Wednesday was a spurious version of Imdachloprid in granular form (only use of the chemical in liquid is approved by the state) belonging to a brand not approved by the Agricultural Department.

In city, there are 250 dealers who supply pesticides to the farmers. As per the Insecticide Control Order of the state government, all of these should be diploma holders in agriculture.

Naresh Gulati, Block Agricultural Officer, said: “The suppliers of pesticides are all being regulated by the government and licenses are being granted to only license holders. The real problem begins when some farmers tend to over spray crops with pesticides. While the university and the Agriculture Department holds regular camps for them, a pesticide overdose leads to problems.

In recent years, it is also causing pest resurgence. Heavy doses of pesticides end up killing the carnivorous insects which actually retain a balance on nature and check pest populations.

Due to the overdose an imbalance and pest resurgence of crop-eating pests is caused. The recent increase in Whitefly attacks are also a fall out of this.”

Farmers’ version

Savinder Singh, state vice-president of the Kisan Sangharsh Comittee said: “The unregulated pesticide manufacturing units are causing groundwater pollution on a large scale in the state. With pesticide outlets springing at an alarming rate, the quality is often compromised. Despite claims, sale of spurious pesticides is going on largely unchecked.”

Tarsem Singh a Sultanpur Lodhi based farmer, said: “There is serious lack of awareness among farmers on the use of pesticides. Most of them apply dosage directed by suppliers. If they instruct 400 ml for a pesticide which requires 200 ml farmers comply without questioning. In our area we haven’t seen any recent camp apprising farmers of correct pesticide. Organic farming is also underrated. A man employing organic farming without pesticides and with vermin-composting in the neighbourhood, saw significantly lesser produce. But such farmers are left to fend for themselves as those using pesticide earn better profits.”

Fact file

  • Toxic and internationally notorious herbicide Glyphosate (a cancer causing agent) was banned by the state govt in October 2018.
  • 40 to 50 insecticides and over a dozen herbicides in common use. 
  • Most commonly used herbicides approved for use by the government during the paddy season are Butachlor and Pretilachlor. 
  • Approved insecticides in use include Chlorpyrifos and Imidacloprid.
  • For cotton crop insecticides Dichlorvos and Decametrin commonly used by farmers. 
  • Insecticide seized in Jalandhar was spurious version of Imidacloprid.
  • As many as 250 dealers supply pesticides to farmers. 
  • Overdose of pesticides common on farms. 
  • Farmers rue lack of camps to apprise them on pesticide dosage. 
  • Organic farming, vermi-composting sans subsidies. 


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