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Mahyco may lose license to sell Bt seeds in Maharashtra

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/agri-biz/article3631912.ece?homepage=true&ref=wl_home
RAHUL WADKE
SOILED FIBRE

MUMBAI, JULY 12:
Agriculture seed major Mahyco, which has been accused of black marketing its seeds and distributing it without informing the State Government, could well stand to lose its license to sell seeds in Maharashtra.

Maharashtra’s Minister for Agriculture, Mr Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, told Business Line that the State Government was left with no other option but to cancel the company’s licence, given the nature of the complaint. He charged that the company was involved in black marketing of Bt (Bacillus Theringuesis) cotton seeds and added that an FIR was lodged against certain company officials.

A few arrests have already been made, he said. The matter was discussed in the Assembly.

The minister further noted that the company allegedly was indulging in this “illegal business” for sometime and that the State Government “could not tolerate it any further”. A final decision regarding the cancellation of license is to be taken on July 18, when the company would be given a hearing at the Agriculture Commissioner office, he added.

The matter came to light in May, when cotton farmers in Beed district were forced to pay significantly higher prices for Bt cotton seeds. MLA Mr Uttamrao Dhikale of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena brought this matter to the attention of the House.

Mr Dhikale, moving a calling attention notice, pointed out that Beed is a major cotton producing district. For the Kharif season, over 47,700 packets (of 450 gms each) of Mahyco 7341 Kanak variety (Bt cotton) was distributed amongst 11 distributors in the district.

However, these distributors did not supply the seeds to the sub-distributors, as is the norm. Instead, they raised bogus bills on the farmers’ name and sold the seeds at a higher price to others, Mr Dhikale added. The MLA has urged the government to initiate a CID probe into the matter.

Replying to the notice, in a written statement, the Agriculture Minister, Mr Patil, said that 10 distributors had resold the seeds directly to the farmers, without informing the Agriculture Department officials. He told the Assembly that it was now clear that Mahyco had resold the seeds with an intention to commit crime. Accordingly, a complaint has been filed at the city police station at Beed.

rahulw@thehindu.co.in

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