Punjab Government has banned the sale of glyphosate — an herbicide widely used to control wide variety of weeds in almost all the crops — in the State.
The chemical has been observed to be group 2A Cancer causing material. Besides cancer, this chemical is also known for causing other health problems and has the potential to damage human DNA as per the opinion of experts from the PGIMER, Chandigarh.
Glyphosate is sold in the country under various trade names such as Round-up, Excell, Glycel, Glider, Glydon, Sweep, Glyphogen etc.
Punjab State Farmers’ Commission had also recommended the ban on the sale of this chemical in Punjab.
State Agriculture Secretary KS Pannu said that the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee (CIB&RC) of the Union Government has recommended the use of this herbicide only for tea garden and non-cropped area and therefore, there is a dire need for strict compliance of the existing label claim of herbicide-Glyphosate as per the conditions of registration with CIB&RC under Insecticide Act, 1968.
There is no cultivation of tea plantation in the state of Punjab and on account of 200 percent crop intensity in the Punjab State, non-cropped is too meagre.
Even this small non-cropped area is also associated with the crop cultivation being the ridges, water channels, bunds and some area between the rows of crops, orchids and canal or drain banks. Therefore, even this area is part of cropped area for all practical purposes.
Pannu said that Punjab Government, after careful consideration, has decided to issue the directions. “All the pesticide manufacturers, marketers and dealers in the State shall not sell Glyphosate formulations or concentrations with immediate effect,” he said.
He added that the licensing authorities have been asked to take necessary steps for removal of entries for Glyphosate from the licenses issued by them.
In addition, all the state pesticide manufacturers, marketers and dealers have also been directed to stop the sale of Glyphosate formulations at all points and to return the entire stock to the concerned companies to reallocate the said stock to the needy states by them.
The state Agriculture director has been asked to take necessary action to implement these directions, said Pannu.