AFTER A pesticide purchase scam came to light following failure of cotton crop due to whitefly attack last October, the agriculture department has decided not to purchase any pesticide this year.
It has instructed farmers to go for direct purchase from shops where pesticides recommended by PAU and agriculture department are available given at subsidised rates.
Confirming the development, Dr Jasbir Singh, director, agriculture, said, “This year, we have not purchased pesticides at our level.
Rather, a list of recommended pesticides has been sent out to farmers and various dealers have stocked them in their shops. Farmers can buy pesticides according to their will.”
Last year, an inquiry was ordered on purchase of more than 92,000 litres of Oberon pesticide that was given to cotton farmers. Former Director Agriculture Mangal Singh Sandhu was booked in the case.
Dr Jasbir Singh, however, did not comment on the pesticide purchase controversy but reiterated that farmers were repeatedly being told to buy pesticide sprays suggested by the agriculture department.
Sukhdev Singh, general secretary, Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan), said, “This year we are directly purchasing pesticides from the dealers, as last year’s subsidised product was spurious and spoiled our cotton crop in Malwa region.” However, pesticides are costlier this time.