Nagpur (Maharashtra), May 8 : A prominent farm body on Tuesday urged the Centre to immediately accept the Maharashtra government's plea to ban poisonous insecticides which have killed more than 60 farmers here so far.
Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavalamban Mission (VNSSM) chairman Kishore Tiwari said that following a series of farmers' deaths due to toxic insecticides, the state government had submitted a proposal to the Centre seeking a ban on such chemicals.
"Though the proposal was sent following directives by the Bombay High Court, I fear it may be thrown into the dustbin by the Union Agriculture Minister," Tiwari said.
In fact, he pointed out that even the Supreme Court has now directed the Centre to impose a ban on 18 poisonous insecticides/ pesticides within the next couple of months.
"It has been our long-pending demand that such dangerous pesticides which are banned in other countries should also be banned or restricted in India because of their grave health and ecological impact," Tiwari said.
He said that in 2013, the Centre had appointed an expert committee which reviewed 66 such dangerous pesticides, which finally recommended in 2015 that 12 must be banned and six others should be phased out from the markets.
Although the Union Agriculture Ministry issued a draft notification in December 2016, as per the recommendations of the expert committee, it had now been referred to another committee to examine the suggestions on the proposed ban recommended by the previous committee, Tiwari said.
He added that activists who had petitioned the SC wanted the government to consider banning completely 99 pesticides considered toxic worldwide and which have so far claimed 60 lives in Maharashtra besides serious health issues to over 2,000 others.
"Instead of taking immediate measures to ban them, they continue to be used without restrictions in India.
There is reported scientific evidence of health impact of pesticides, their usage is linked with depression and suicidal tendencies, besides affecting birds and insects as well as the consumers," Tiwari explained.
After the Mission exposed involvement of political leaders and agents of the companies, they retaliated by blaming the farmers for the deaths, "and now the MNCs may influence the Centre from implementing a total ban", Tiwari said.
Simultaneously, he also urged the Maharashtra farming community to shift to organic farming like Sikkim to minimize the use of pesticides and prevent health and ecological hazards.