Ban herbicide glyphosate, RSS-affiliated trade body tells govt; cites cancer risk

RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) has termed the decision of the central government to restrict the use of a broad spectrum weed killer glyphosate as ill-conceived, and has called for a complete ban on its use in India.

In a response to the draft notification issued by the Agriculture Ministry to limit the use of glyphosate, SJM alleged that the proposed measure of allowing use of glyphosate through Pest Control Operators (PCO) is meaningless as it will be impossible to implement and control illegal practices by which glyphosate is presently being used.

“The proposal shall result in increased damage to consumer health, farmer interests, farm workers’ livelihoods and ecology. At present, in US alone, there are more than 1,25,000 law suits against the company producing herbicides with glyphosate as major ingredients, for having caused rampant spread of cancer,” the letter said.

“The order does not restrict sale but only usage to be done by PCOs. Once a sale takes place, there will be no means of controlling usage by lakhs of farmers who may or may not use a PCO,” the letter said. The swadeshi group also alleges that inspite of existing restriction on use of glyphosate other than for tea plantations and “non crop areas”, it is blatantly being used for illegally grown Herbicide Tolerant (HT) cotton and HT soya.

“This has been going on for years with the full knowledge of the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, under the Ministry of Forests and Environment; and State Governments, but it continues unabated and with open defiance of the law,” states Ashwani Mahajan, National Co-Convenor, SJM.

SJM points out while Kerala, a major tea growing state, has asked for a ban on glyphosate, West Bengal, another major tea growing state, has restricted glyphosate use to only six tea-growing districts. They also say that several other states have been actively restricting use of glyphosate due to their concerns for consumers, farmers and environment.

The organisation had carried out an online campaign – with around 2 lakh signatories – to totally ban the use of glyphosate since 2019. The government order restricting its use was meant to address their concerns.

Lakhs of farmers who may or may not use a PCO”, the letter said. The swadeshi group also alleges that inspite of existing restriction on use of glyphosate other than for tea plantations and “non crop areas”, it is blatantly being used for illegally grown Herbicide Tolerant (HT) cotton  and HT soya.

“This has been going on for years with the full knowledge of the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, under the Ministry of Forests and Environment; and State Governments, but it continues unabated and with open defiance of the law”, states Ashwani Mahajan, National Co-Convenor, SJM.  

SJM points out while Kerala, a major tea growing state, has asked for a ban on glyphosate, West Bengal, another major tea growing state, has restricted glyphosate use to only six tea-growing districts. They also say that several other states have been actively restricting use of glyphosate due to their concerns for consumers, farmers and environment.

The organisation had carried out an online campaign – with around 2 lakh signatories – to totally ban the use of glyphosate since 2019. The government order restricting its use was meant to address their concerns.

 

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