Agri Business

Maharashtra slaps notice on farmers sowing HTBT seeds, arrests one

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on June 20, 2019

Members and supporters of the Shetkari Sanghatana. (File photo)   -  Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

The State government has appealed farmers not to sow HTBT seeds, even as Shetkari Sanghatana — a farmers’ union based in Kolhapur — continues to encourage farmers to break the law.

Buldhana police have arrested one farmer for possessing HTBT seeds, while Jalna District Agriculture Officer has asked the Sanghatana to refrain from sowing HTBT cotton seeds.

Sanghatana President Anil Ghanwat said that Pravin Kharche, a 40-year-old farmer in Buldhana district was arrested on Wednesday and the local court in Sindhkhed Raja remanded him in six-day police custody. District officials had registered a complaint against Kharche for possessing HTBT cotton seeds. Carrying, storing, selling, or sowing of banned GM crops incurs ₹1 lakh fine and five years imprisonment.

However, Sanghatana leaders along with farmers continue the drive to sow HTBT cotton seeds across Marathwada and Vidarhba regions.

Ghanwat said that farmers are not going to succumb to any pressure and will cultivate HTBT cotton and Bt birnjal. He added that farmers were ready to face arrest and prosecution. “We are fighting for our right to use technology for our better future and we are ready to face the consequences,” he said.

Sanghatana leaders claimed that people ‘ vested interests’ were opposing HTBT cotton and Bt brinJal and if the government fails to take concrete steps, a huge ‘seed mafia’ is certain to crop up. They claimed that ‘unnecessary fear’ was being spread about GM crops. Farmers vouched that they will sow HTBT cotton and Bt brinJal and spread the message on social media so that other farmers, too, join the movement.

Published on June 20, 2019

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