Protesting farmers sowed banned HTBT cotton, says lab report


MUMBAI: A laboratory report has confirmed that farmers in Maharashtra’s Akola district indeed sowed banned herbicide-tolerant Bt (HTBT) cotton by way of protest last month, a state government official said Tuesday.

The farmers, under the banner of Shetkari Sanghatna, had sown HTBT cotton seeds openly, demanding that the ban on these seeds be lifted.

The district collector had collected samples of the seeds and sent them to a Nagpur-based laboratory. The laboratory informed Monday that the samples tested positive for HTBT cotton, an agriculture department official said.


The department has now asked officials of the Akot and Hiwarkhed police stations in the district to initiate action against the farmers, he said.

Shetkari Sanghatna conducted a `satyagraha’ on June 10 against the Union government-imposed ban on HTBT cotton by sowing the banned varieties.

The farmers were booked under the Environment Protection Act and the Seeds Act, apart from provisions of the Indian Penal Code for defying government orders.

The Shetkari Sanghatna, founded by late Sharad Joshi, is rooting for HTBT cotton saying that it can resist weeds, thus saving on herbicide costs.

“The government, both the centre and the state, have not conducted a proper study about the impact of HTBT cotton. Therefore the ban continues,” said a senior state government official.

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