Vijay Ghawate, director (Quality Control), agriculture department, said the authorities had received complaints from around 30,000 farmers that the soybean seeds purchased for sowing this Kharif season did not germinate.
The Maharashtra state agriculture department has filed FIRs against 13 companies for supplying poor quality soybean seeds to farmers, department’s top officials have revealed.
Vijay Ghawate, director (Quality Control), agriculture department, said the authorities had received complaints from around 30,000 farmers that the soybean seeds purchased for sowing this Kharif season did not germinate. The companies are located in Pune, Solapur, Beed, Jalna, Latur Osmanabad, Buldhana, Nagpur and Chandrapur divisions, he said.
The department has started investigations and inspections are also in progress, he said.
Soybean has been cultivated on around 41 hectares in Maharashtra this Kharif season, and nearly 48% of the sowing operations have been completed, officials said.
Ghawate said the seed companies had already been directed to compensate the farmers.
Significantly, last week, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court rapped the state government for not making haste in acting against vendors supplying spurious soybean seeds to farmers. The court took suo moto cognizance of news reports pertaining to the farmers’ complaints.
The court observed that farmers in Marathwada and Vidarbha region are poor and such fraud by the seed vendors was detrimental to their survival. A division bench of Justice TV Nalawade and Justice D Kulkarni, on June 26, was hearing the petition after media reports surfaced of complaining farmers from Nanded, Latur, Parbhani, Hingoli and Ahmednagar. The HC also noted that state agriculture minister Dadasaheb Bhuse, on June 25, had expressed there were no provisions of taking criminal actions under the Seeds Act, 1966, but he was trying to ensure that the farmers were given fresh seeds. The Bench has appointed lawyer P P More as amicus curiae to assist the court with the suo motu public interest litigation.