“We have considered the interest of the farming community”

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Friday admitted in the Rajya Sabha that 67 pesticides banned or restricted in a number of countries are being freely used in India.

Replying to questions during question hour, Mr. Pawar said 27 pesticides, including calcium cyanide, have been banned for manufacture, import and use in India. Nicotin sulfate and captafol have been banned for use but their manufacture is allowed for export. Four pesticide formulations have been banned for import, manufacture and use, while seven others have been withdrawn. Thirteen pesticides, including endosulfan, are allowed with restrictions. Asked why these pesticides were being allowed in India, he said that only some countries have banned their use, while others such as Brazil and Australia continue to use them. “We take all precautions in allowing use of these pesticides. Certain countries have banned them, but certain countries have allowed their use. We have taken the opinion of the scientific community and considered the interest of the farming community in allowing their use.”

On reports of the presence of high level of pesticides in fruits and vegetables in cities like Delhi, Mr. Pawar said samples were collected from time to time and appropriate action was taken.

On the use of endosulfan, Mr. Pawar said four different committees of scientists have certified it as being safe for use. However, in view of request from the Kerala government its use had been disallowed in Kerala. Similar request has been received from Karnataka and use of endosulfan is in the process of being stopped in the State.