Punjab government has banned the sale of "cancer-causing" herbicide glyphosate in the state, which is broadly used to control a different type of weeds in crops, with instant effect, reports a senior official.
State Agriculture Secretary K.S. Pannu said that the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee (CIB&RC) had recommended the use of the herbicide only for tea garden and non-crop area.
‘After the state agriculture department lately passed an order, manufacturers, marketers, and traders in Punjab will not be allowed to sell the chemical glyphosate or its form as it has toxic effects on human health.’
"There is no cultivation of tea plantation in Punjab, and on account of 200 percent crop intensity in Punjab, the non-crop area is too meager," said Pannu.
"Even this small area is also associated with crop cultivation, being ridges, water channels, bundhs and some area between the rows of crops, orchids, and canal/drain banks. Therefore, even this area is a part of crop area for all practical purposes," Pannu pointed out.
The Punjab State Farmers Commission had also recommended the ban on the sale of the chemical in the state.
"This chemical has been observed to be 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 PGIMER, Chandigarh," a state government spokesman pointed out.
Glyphosate is sold under various trade names. Pannu said the state government has directed all pesticide manufacturers, marketers and dealers in the state will not sell glyphosate formulations and concentrations with immediate effect.
"The licensing authorities have been asked to take necessary steps for removal of entries for glyphosate from the licenses issued by them," he added.
Agrarian Punjab contributes 50 percent of food grains (wheat and paddy) to the national kitty despite having just 1.54 percent of the country's geographical area.