The Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee (CIBRC) on Wednesday told the Punjab and Haryana high court that it was inquiring into the "illegalities and irregularities" pertaining to the use of Raxil-2DS fungicide to treat Karnal bunt disease.
"Action will be taken after the inquiry in completed. A show-cause notice has been issued to Bayer Crop Science India, seeking their clarification in this regard," said a reply filed by CIBRC's plant protection officer Mithilesh Kumar Arya.
The submissions were made during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Bhiwani Sudhar and Vikas Samiti, seeking an independent probe into the alleged illegal purchase of Raxil-2DS fungicide worth several crores of rupees by the Haryana government from Bayer Crop Science India for wheat seed treatment.
In its submission before a high court bench, the CIBRC on Wednesday said that insecticide Tebuconazole 2% DS (Raxil 2DS) was registered under Section 9 (3) of the Insecticides Act in favour of Bayer India Ltd and was approved for wheat seed treatment to control loose smut and flag smut diseases only. It had not been approved by the registration committee to control Karnal bunt disease, the reply said.
"How it is being used to control Karnal bunt is better known to the state government as issuance of manufacturing licence is absolutely under the domain of respective state government where the produce is being manufactured and used," the CIBRC told the high court.
The reply said that no fungicide could be sold without getting it registered with the CIBRC.
"Tebucanozole is registered only to treat flag smut and loose smut and clarifications have already been sent to the state government. Till date, Bayer has not applied to get Raxil-2DS registered for treating Karnal bunt," the reply said.
For the Haryana government, AK Singh, agriculture secretary, said before the court: "As per the recommendations of the Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (CCSHAU), Hisar, Raxil-2DS fungicide treats loose smut and flag smut diseases and is also effective against Karnal bunt at one-fourth the dose of alternate treatment by bavistin/vitavax and thiram."
"As a product, Raxil-2DS is registered with the CIBRC for the control of loose smut and flag smut. Additionally, as per research and recommendations of the CCSHAU, Raxil-2DS is also effective against Karnal bunt," the state agriculture secretary said in the reply,
Singh told the high court that it was the duty of the Haryana government to inform the farmers and seed producers that Raxil-2DS was effective in controlling loose smut, flag smut and Karnal bunt.
"Otherwise, they would have used thiram fungicide to control Karnal bunt along with Raxil-2DS and the double dose of fungicide would have reduced the germination of seeds and led to reduction in crop yield. This would have been non judicious use of fungicide. The petitioner has not supported any scientific research to prove that Raxil-2DS is not effective against Karnal bunt," the state government's reply said.
The reply further stated that Raxil-2DS was registered with the CIBRC and was purchased in transparent manner at the most competitive rates.