Mumbai: Leader of opposition Dhananjay Munde blamed the nexus between BT cotton seed producer companies and the ruling political parties as behind the death of 21 farmers due to inhalation of pesticides in Yavatmal district last month. He claimed that this is a big cotton seed scam and it should be probed. Munde said that he had written a letter to the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar on July 6.
“I tried to bring to notice the report of Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR) to the state government which has stated bollworm as not responding to pesticides in BT cotton. Pink bollworms have developed immunity towards pesticides being sprayed on BT cotton seeds,” said Munde and added that hence he suggested that either the state has to bring an alternative to BT cotton seed or has to change the pesticides.
“I had also suggested to the state to take a policy decision about seeds and pesticides, and also conduct an awareness programme among farmers to avoid any hazardous situations. However, my letter was ignored,” he said. Munde blamed the seed companies for donating huge amounts to the ruling party, who are hence against taking any action. However, the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis rubbished these allegations. Meanwhile, Dr K R Kranthi of Nagpur based CICR had submitted its report to the state government in December last year.
The report has stated that blue bollworm has developed immunity over the past ten years and BT cotton seeds which were supposed to be strongest failed before this bollworm. This has resulted 80 to 90 per cent loss of cotton grown using BT seeds. Munde said, “It is the time to rethink the use of BT seed else, farmers will use more concentrated pesticides to kill the bollworm and they will die.”