Agri Business

Maharashtra appoints special counsel to present case against seed companies

Our Bureau Pune | Updated on August 04, 2020 Published on August 04, 2020

Case pertains to alleged poor-quality biotech cotton seed supply in 2017-18 kharif season

The Maharashtra government has appointed special counsels to present its case against global and Indian seed companies over the alleged poor-quality biotech cotton seed supply in the 2017-18 kharif season.

Solicitor-cum-Joint-Secretary BZ Sayeed, in his letter to the government pleader in the Bombay HC, stated that Vijaysinh Thorat and Snehal Jadhav will be special counsels and Vishal Kadam will assist them.

In Kharif 2017-18, the State agriculture commissioner received complaints from cotton grower farmers that the crop on about 22 lakh hectare was destroyed by pink bollworm as the BT seeds provided by companies failed to resist the attack.

The Maharashtra Agriculture Department slapped a notice on the seed companies, imposing a fine of ₹1,200 crore as compensation to farmers. According to the government, about 20 lakh cotton farmers suffered losses. The seed companies had filed writ petitions in the Bombay High Court and obtained interim relief.

Farmer up in arms

Farmers in the State were agitated that the State government was not taking concrete steps to present the case in the court. Farmers’ organisation had alleged that the State government was going smooth on the seed companies.

The State government’s move to appoint special counsels comes against the backdrop of various farmers complaining this year about late germination of soya seeds while many farmers have complained of spurious seed supply.

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Published on August 04, 2020
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