The Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum has ordered a private agriculture inputs firm and a retail seller of seeds to jointly pay a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to a farmer who had suffered losses in broccoli farming after most of the plants failed to bear the flower heads — the commercial part of the crop. The Forum also ordered the two parties to pay Rs 15,000 towards litigation cost and for the mental stress caused to the farmer, Manik Anant Thorat.
A resident of Uruli Kanchan, Thorat had moved the forum against Known-You Seed India Pvt Ltd, Bhima Koregaon, and M/s Chandrashesh Traders, Phursungi. Thorat said his son had read the advertisement issued by the seed production company, and purchased broccoli seeds on February 1, 2017. He then approached Scientific Seedling to get the seedlings prepared.
“After getting the seedlings, I planted them… watered them and applied fertiliser, as per the instructions. However, only 10 per cent of the plants developed, while 90 per cent of them did not develop a flowering head. I approached the retailer as well as the seedling firm… but they didn’t do anything… I suffered a huge loss and sent notices to all the firms for compensation, but in vain,” stated Thorat in a complaint he filed with the forum in December 2017. “I lodged a complaint with the block development officer in June. On July 3, the grievances redressal committee and sub-divisional agriculture officer inspected my farm… they submitted a report on July 27,” stated Thorat.
When they appeared before the forum, the seed company officials rejected the claims. “As per the tag on the packet, the seeds have to be planted in kharif and rabi seasons only, but he didn’t follow the instructions, so the seedlings didn’t develop properly. As per the report of the agriculture officer, there was no fault with the seeds. Therefore, we are not liable for payment of compensation,” the firm submitted.
However, the forum, comprising president M K Walchale and members S K Pacharbe and Shubhangi Dunakhe, found the services of the two firms lacking. “If the seeds are to be planted only in kharif and rabi seasons, then it should not be sold in other periods. Even if it is mentioned on the tag, the firms should have told the complainant about it,” observed the Forum.
The bench, however, also felt that there was negligence on the part of the farmer, as he should have read the instructions on the packet. Hence, the bench didn’t accede to his demand for a compensation of Rs 9 lakh.