Acting on a tip-off, officials of the agriculture department of the Wardha and the local police on Friday raided fields of some farmers in village Mouja Jaamni and confiscated at least 12 packets of the banned seed variety of herbicide tolerant (HT) Bt cotton.
While the field reportedly belongs to Sudhir Deshpande, it was given on contract to Pravin Kadvu Ghulghane for farming. Ghulghane managed to escape, officials said.
Officials of the Zilla Parishad received information that the farmer had hired labourers and had sown seeds of the banned variety.
Anil Ghanwat, national president, Shetkari Sanghatana which has been protesting against the ban on genetically modified crops, confirmed the incident and said that farmers will continue to sow HTBt cotton.
He said the farmers were apprehensive and therefore ran away and the officials confiscated some packets of seeds. He said another invitation has been sent to farmers to attend sowing of herbicide tolerant BT cotton at Shegaon (Kund), Taluka Hinganghat, Wardha on the field of farmer Madhusudan Harne on June 20.
On Thursday, the Union government has sought an action taken report from the state over the incident of sowing of unauthorised HTBt cotton at Maharashtra’s Akoli Jahangir village in Akola district.Richa Sharma, joint secretary, ministry of environment, has written to chief secretary Ajoy Mehta to order an investigation and verify facts on ground.
Farmers’ body Shetkari Sanghatana in Maharashtra said that it will continue to defy the government ban and hold ceremonies to sow unapproved variant of HTBt seeds across the state.
On Thursday morning, around 60-70 farmers led by Anil Ghanwat, national president, Shetkari Sanghatana, sowed HTBt seeds on a one-acre plot belonging to 34-year old Mahadev Vitthalrao Khamkar of Anandwadi village in Sri Gonda taluka of Ahmednagar district.