The government has decided to book those distributors who are selling spurious pesticides and fertilizers under the dreaded Public Safety Act (PSA). The arrest under this act will ensure that the dealer goes to jail for a term of two years.
The government’s move has come at a time when the fruit growers across the Kashmir Valley have been complaining of spurious fertilizers and pesticides being sold to them which has resulted in tremendous loss to the trade and affected the well being of the fruit bearing trees as well.
The stat government just last week issued the promulgation of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017. The ordinance having the provision of booking people found involved in sale and supply of spurious pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers under PSA.
This according to the government will act as a major deterrent against such malpractices which are detrimental for the state’s agriculture and horticulture sectors.
The Rs 4,000 crore apple industry is under threat from spurious pesticides in circulation. Fruit growers from Kulgam and Shopian districts in South Kashmir allege that almost all pesticides sold in Kashmir are substandard.
After the growers complaints grew shriller, the government acted and said that selling, transporting, stocking, supplying, keeping and distributing misbranded, spurious and banned insecticides, pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers in the State would be punishable offence under Section 8, Act VI of J&K Public Safety Act, 1978 in sub section 1-A after clause A-1 insertion as A 2.
This is not the first time that the government has come hard against the drug suppliers and dealers.
Concerned over the prevalence of spurious drugs even the Governor N N Vohra had asked the Horticulture Development Officers (HDOs), who have been designated as Insecticide Inspectors, consequent to complaints about the serious losses suffered by fruit growers on account of spurious and sub- standard pesticides to collect samples of the pesticides and fertilizers and get them examined.
The Directors of Horticulture of Kashmir and Jammu divisions have also been directed to deploy HDOs at Lakhanpur, Lower Munda and at the Nagri Toll Post for inspection of the incoming consignments.
No doubt that the sale of such insecticides, pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers was not only ruining the horticulture and the agriculture sector in the State but also damaging the economy and hitting the public health as these are carcinogenic in nature.
But some inward looking also needs to be done. The fruit growers allege that sampling done by the government is of no use as it is done very late and that too after dealers sell the stock to growers. Is it that the government functionaries are passing the buck and escaping the responsibility.
Should the dealers and suppliers alone be taken to task or the government needs to streamline the functioning of the field agencies as well.