Maharashtra company challenges ban on Bt cotton seeds
Apr. 7, 2014
Justice S Abdul Nazeer, before whom the petition came up for hearing last Saturday, posted the same for last Tuesday while asking the advocate general to appear for the state government.
The petitioners, Msrs Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Limited, claimed that the March 22 order passed by the director of agriculture is illegal, without jurisdiction and violation of principles of natural justice. "Section 14(1) (e) of Seeds Act 1966 does not apply in the instant case as 'MRC 7351' and 'Nikki Plus' are not notified kind of variety of seed," the company has claimed.
According to them, there was no seizure and collection of samples and no analysis done before passing of the said order. "By this order, our engagement in business in the state of Karnataka is deprived. There are civil consequences because of the blacklisting. In fact, farmers are willing to have Bt cotton seeds to get good yield," the petitioners claimed.
'Crop failure not due to seeds'
According to the petitioners, the crop failure in 2013 kharif season in several districts was not because of Bt cotton but due to environmental reasons like continuous rain and new pests. "Pests caused damage to crops but government is blaming seeds. It may be duplicate seeds or seeds marketed by other companies. We have given Rs 10 crore as token support to identified farmers who were affected. The same has been overlooked," the company further stated.
On March 22, 2014, the director of agriculture passed an order banning Msrs Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Limited from selling of Bt cotton hybrid seeds in the state and also blacklisted while directing it not to participate in any tender.
According to the GO, it was noted that Bt cotton seeds failed to give expected results and there was only 50% crop in 10,983 villages, affecting 54,150 farmers in seven districts. The notification also said that the company failed to create awareness about pest control.
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