India: Rs 3 crore worth spurious & illegal genetically modified seeds seized
Jun. 15, 2018
The seeds are being supplied to farmers during kharif season and sowing intensified across the state with arrival of monsoon. Despite the crackdown on BT3 cotton seeds, it is still being sold. Farmers are using it to raise cotton crop, posing huge biological threat.
Sources said during seed task inspections for Kharif 2018 at 135 outlets across thee state, 310 quintals of cotton, chilli, maize and vegetable seeds were seized. Vigilance sleuths also ordered a stop in sale of 1,413 quintals of paddy, maize, cotton and other seeds worth Rs 3.1 crore. During searches, they found traders selling adulterate watermelon seeds.
During searches in Nalgonda, cotton-seed samples were taken and sent for BT protein quantification test. In Hyderabad rural, including Mahabubnagar, sleuths seized HT (herbicide) Tolerant Cotton seeds that test positive. BT-3 seeds are sold unauthorisedly without clearance from Genetic Engineering Approval Committee.
Violations include nonidentification of supply source, date-expired seeds, no valid licence for seller, illegal storage of BT cotton, unlawful sale of BT-3 seeds and lack of permit for godowns. Criminal cases were slapped under Section 420 (Cheating) of the IPC and sections of Essential Commodities Act.
Speaking to TOI, Telangana Seed Certification Agency deputy director Sudarshan said, “Herbicide-tolerant seeds are still sold in black market. Task Force set up by government with police, agriculture department and officials of Seed Corporation and Seed Certification Agency formed 50 teams. We have been conducting searches since May.”
Use of spurious seeds that fail to germinate and produce low-yield is said to be a cause that’s forcing farmers to commit suicide. Telangana government has been focusing on making the state a seed bowl.
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