On February 19, the PAU had recommended PR 128, PR 129 and five other varieties of paddy for general cultivation in Punjab.(HT File Photo)
On February 19, the PAU had recommended PR 128, PR 129 and five other varieties of paddy for general cultivation in Punjab.(HT File Photo)

Paddy seeds seized from Ludhiana store fail germination tests

The store had been selling the seeds at inflated rates by branding them as PR 128 and PR 129 (high yielding varieties); were confiscated during a raid on March 11
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana | By Mohit Khanna, Ludhiana
UPDATED ON MAY 30, 2020 02:02 PM IST

The paddy seeds seized from Brar seed store, located on Ferozepur Road opposite the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), have failed the germination test.

Confirming the development, chief agriculture officer Narinder Singh Benipal said, “The store was selling the seeds at inflated rates by branding them as PR 128 and PR 129 (high yielding varieties).The department conducted a germination test, which the seeds samples failed. Now, samples have been sent to PAU laboratory for gene tests.”

Director (agriculture) Dr Sutantar Kumar Airi, who visited the city to check the progress in the case, said the matter was being probed and all aspects were being looked into.

PAU TO OPEN DOORS TO FARMERS FOR SEED TESTING

Amid the row over the spurious seed varieties, PAU has asked farmers to get their seeds tested from the university.

Vice-chancellor Baldev Singh Dhillon said farmers who wish to get their seeds tested for authenticity and quality, could visit the university. “However, it would be difficult for us assess the seedlings (peeniri),” said Dr Dhillon.

The development comes a day after various farmers’ organisations and Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD) submitted memorandums to deputy commissioners across the state, demanding that all farmers who had been duped should be identified and given financial compensation.

The matter regarding sale of spurious seeds had come to fore after a farmer had submitted a written complaint to deputy commissioner, stating that PR 128 seed was being sold at Rs 200 per kg at Brar seed store, while PAU was selling the same variety for Rs 70. Following the complaint, the deputy commissioner had directed the Ludhiana chief agriculture officer to take action.

On March 11, a team of agriculture and farmers welfare department of Punjab conducted a raid and took samples of PR 128, 129 varieties, a large quantity of filled bill books and samples of all other seed varieties found in the shop.

The owner was booked under Section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code.The Vigilance Bureau has also initiated a probe in the matter on the directions of chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

ABOUT THE SEEDS

On February 19, PAU had recommended seven new varieties of paddy for general cultivation in Punjab. These included PR 128, PR 129 and HKR 47 of rice; J 1007 of fodder maize; J 87 of groundnut; JC 12 of maize and PCB 165 of bajra. All varieties were approved during the state variety approval committee meeting, held under the chairmanship of Punjab agriculture director Suntantar Kumar Airi.

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