Amend pesticide bill to add health & safety issues – BJP Kishan Morcha

Shimla: Expressing reservation over the Pesticide Management Bill 2008 (2011), OP Dhanker, president of BJP’s Kishan Morcha here said that while it served the interests of pesticide manufacturers but fell short to addressing health and safety issue like those faced by Bhopal gas leak case.

Photo by - Amit Kanwar

Referring to the agriculture minister Sharad Pawar admitting in Parliament that there were 57 pesticides freely being sold in India which were otherwise banned in developed countries, he said, “the proposed legislation was silent about this aspect.”

Since pesticide inputs into the farm sector had a direct bearing upon health, and India should not become a testing lab for pesticides, the new bill needs to be amended to incorporate provisions against hazardous chemicals to human and animal health, he said.

He went onto say that pesticide management should be the domain of environment ministry and not the agriculture ministry because of conflict of interests.

“While the agriculture ministry was concerned about increasing productivity, the environment ministry did take into account the chemical pollution and its hazardous effects on human and animal health,” said the Kishan leader.

He mentioned that chemical pollution was being held responsible for the high incidence of cancer in and around Talwandi in Punjab.

Recalling the Bhopal gas tragedy, he said that the biggest industrial tragedy in the country history was at a pesticide plant and the new bill has nothing in it to hold companies like Union Carbide accountable for such disasters. “Provisions for damages caused by pesticide plants should be made in the bill, he said.

Mentioning BT Cotton, he said that through bio-technology, pesticides had been inserted into seeds to kill pests but the new bill does not recognize BT pesticides.

Kishan Morcha will submit a memo to Governor of Himachal in March 14, expressing our reservations about the proposed bill and seek it be amended to incorporate all aspects related to pesticides before it is legislated, said Dhanker.

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