The government has constituted multi-disciplinary squads, headed by district collectors, to prevent the entry, transport and use of the banned pesticide endosulfan in plantations and farms.
The squads will raid plantations and godowns of distributors, check vehicles moving through check-posts and plantations, seize stocks of endosulfan and file criminal cases against those transporting, storing or using endosulfan in the State.
An order issued by the government on Monday said that every suspected container which did not have proper labelling and supporting bills should be seized under Section 22 of the Insecticides Act (under which the Centre had banned the use of endosulfan in Kerala) with records if necessary and ‘mahazar' written with two witnesses. The sample of seized chemical should be sent to Central Insecticides Laboratory, Faridabad, for testing. If the test result showed that the chemical came under banned, spurious or misbranded category, criminal case should be charged under the Act.
The order directed that police protection be ensured to the raiding squads which should be accompanied by the Agriculture Officer and Assistant Director of Agriculture in charge of the area. Vehicles coming through check-posts should be inspected to prevent the transport of banned chemicals.
The district-level squads will have the Principal Agriculture Officer as convenor. The other members will be the Commissioner of Police or Superintendent of Police, Deputy Commissioner, Sales Tax, Assistant Excise Commissioner, Sub Divisional Magistrate, District Public Prosecutor, Regional Transport Officer, a nominee of the Kerala Agriculture University, a nominee of the State Pollution Control Board, Deputy Director of Agriculture (Training) or the district, Assistant Director of Agriculture (Quality Control) in charge of the district and any other officers co-opted by the Collector.