Punjab smells fake pesticide sale scam - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Punjab smells fake pesticide sale scam

Punjab smells fake pesticide sale scam

Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service
Moga, April 8

A fake pesticide scam has come to light in the state, including Moga district.

The Agriculture Departme-nt had seized a few bottles of ‘Fame’, a pesticide marketed by Bayer Crop Science Limited, the world’s premier seed and pesticide/insecticide marketing company, and laboratory tests confirmed that the product is spurious.

“A show-cause notice has been issued to the regional office of Bayer. Investigation is in progress,” said Dr Amarjit Singh, an agro-scientist with the department.

‘Fame’ contains a chemical called Flubendiamide, which is the first representative of chemical insecticide class diamides.

Flubendiamide acts on receptors in insect muscles, causing immediate cessation of feeding, and thus avoids crop damage. 

It targets American bollworm and spotted bollworm in cotton, rice stem borer, leaf folder in tomato and other crop pests.

Bayer claims that ‘Fame’ contains 39.35 per cent weight per weight (w/w) Flubendiamide, but the seized bottles contained just 1 per cent w/w of Flubendiamide, making it ineffective. 

These 100 ml bottles were seized from one Gurwinder Singh, proprietor, Nambardar Kheti Store, Badduwal (Moga), a few weeks back. The store’s licence has been suspended though legal action is yet to be taken.

Meanwhile, Sanjiv Sehgal, regional manager of Bayer, in a written statement to the department, denied that the seized bottles were marketed by his company. He claimed that the batch numbers did not match with their official records.

The stickers pasted on the ‘Fame’ bottles mentioned that the product was manufactured at Saraswati Agro Chemicals India Private Limited, Dera Bassi, Punjab. The department has also issued a show-cause notice to this company.

Lalit Bansal, Managing Director, Saraswati Agro, said his company manufactures ‘Fame’ for Bayer and supplies all manufactured lots to it for marketing. “It is the responsibility of Bayer to keep a check on fake products being sold on its trade mark. We do not sell this product in the market,” he claimed.

It is learnt that the packaging bottles of ‘Fame’ were manufactured by Saraswati Plastotech India Private Limited, Jammu, a sister concern of Saraswati Agro.

Sukhdev Singh Kokri, general secretary of BKU (Ekta), has demanded that the CBI should register a criminal case against all those involved. 

In 2015-16, a similar case of fake pesticides had rocked Punjab, damaging thousands of hectares of cotton crop in the Malwa belt.

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