The Punjab agriculture department seized 520 kg of a spurious fertiliser from the Co-operative Agriculture Services Society godown at Charik village in Moga district during a raid on Friday.
After the seizure of 65 bags (each weighing 8kg), a special enforcement team of agriculture development officers (ADOs), including Manjit Singh, Jaswinder Singh Brar and Dr Kuldeep Singh Buttar, sent samples of the "micro nutrient mixture fertiliser" of Uttam brand for testing. The samples failed the laboratory tests.
The department grants approval to manufacturers to sell micro nutrient mixture fertiliser across the state. This year, the department did not give the nod to any firm for the purpose. However, several manufacturing companies have been allegedly selling unauthorised fertiliser products in the market at hefty rates.
ADO Brar said officers of the department had received a tip-off that bags of a substandard fertiliser were being sold to farmers at Charik village.
According to the department, the seized fertiliser was manufactured by Laxmi Agro Chemicals, Longowal (Sangrur), and it was marketed by the United Fertilisers and Chemicals in 8kg packing.
"The samples were sent to the notified government laboratory for examination. During the examination, experts found that the seized fertiliser were substandard. We are going to take legal action against the firm under Section 19 of the Fertiliser Control Order, 1985, and Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955," said Brar.
The department has also sent several samples of micro nutrient mixture fertiliser collected from Faridkot and Sangrur districts for testing.
In the past three years, the department has recovered spurious agricultural pesticides, fertilisers and insecticides in Moga district.
"Nine FIRs have been registered against those involved in the trade of spurious pesticides and fertilisers. All cases of failed samples of pesticides and fertilisers are under trial in different courts. Owners of two firms -- Sran Pesticides and Sandhu Pesticides - were sentenced to one-year imprisonment by the local court recently," the ADO said.
When contacted, Punjab agriculture minister Jathedar Tota Singh said, "The state government has called an emergency meeting of Punjab Agricultural University experts, Punjab Co-operative Societies registrar and Markfed officers at Chandigarh on July 7 to discuss the matter. We will not allow the sale of spurious fertilisers and pesticides to farmers. I have issued an order to promptly register cases against such firms."