The sale of several pesticides and insecticides that have been banned by the Central insecticide board and registration committee is being carried out in a covert manner in markets across the districts.
The main pesticides and insecticides that are reportedly being sold despite the ban include termite control insecticides Aldrin, DDT, Lindane and Aluminum Phosphide’. Out of these, Aluminum Phosphide, which is commonly known as Sulphas, and DDT, can be used in special circumstances by authorities but these are being sold to common people through illegal means in the markets.
‘Sulphas’ and DDT are considered to be one of the biggest causes of suicidal deaths in north India, due to their easy availability.
The reason behind the illegal exercise is the availability of huge stocks of such substances in the market as these were mostly imported from foreign markets. Also they are cheap as compared to the alternatives suggested, say experts.
Notably, in the state, the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) has prepared a list of banned pesticides on central committee’s recommendations and the onus of regulating it is on the agriculture department.
Chief agriculture officer of Jalandhar, Inderjeet Singh, said the department used to set targets for pesticides, fertilisers and seed sample collection every year. Raids are also conducted with the help of administrative machinery when complaints come.
As per the data procured for the year 2016-17, district authorities had set a target of intake of 225 samples for pesticides and insecticides. But only 59 samples have been taken so far and out of these 41 passed and 18 are still awaiting results from testing labs.
“Staff crunch is to blame for lower sampling intake and shoddy investigations as only a BSc-qualified person can take samples of these,” said a department official on the condition of anonymity.