Mangalore, Sep 2, 2014: Chairing the general body meeting of the zilla panchayat on Monday, ZP President Asha Thimmappa Gowda said that a team of ZP members and officers of horticulture department and CPCRI will visit the areca plantations and study the condition of areca due to fruit rot disease.
This is a result of areca growers raising apprehension over the credibility of Biofit / Biofot products used in areca plantation, the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat has decided to submit a detailed report on the condition of areca growers in the district and demand the quality testing of Biofit / Biofot products. The report will be submitted to the State government soon. Due measures will be placed before the government to find a permanent solution to eradicate fruit-rot disease, she said.
The decision was taken after the ZP members, most of them being areca growers, cutting across party lines explained how they were “cheated” by the manufacturers of Biofot and Biofit products. Raising the issue, member Chenappa Kotian said that though last year areca plants were affected with the disease after three months of spraying Biofit, this year the arecanuts have started withering within one and half of months of spraying. “The manufacturers of the product having shown it as an organic solution to the fruit-rot disease, have not obtained permission from the authority concerned to manufacture and sell the products,” he said, urging for a ban on the products.
Horticulture Department Deputy Director Yogish said that the products were sent to Faridabad for laboratory testing and the test concluded that none of the content of 116 notified insecticides in India, was present in Biofit and Biofot. “The manufacturing company claims it as an organic based medicine, and we suspect the use of Potassium phosphate in the product. The product sellers do not even issue bills to the farmers who purchase it. Hence, there is no legal commitment in the transaction. We have been repeatedly advising the areca growers not to use the product as it is not certified,” he said.
ZP CEO Tulasi Maddineni said that as the laboratory testing has proved the absence of any of the notified insecticides in the product, the product can not be banned. The horticulture department DD too can not initiate action against the manufacturers as the product is claimed to be organic. MLC Kota Srinivas Poojary suggested to recommend the government to have a quality testing of the product in the interest of the farmers and also said that areca growers can approach the consumer court if they have any issues with the manufacturers or sellers. It was based on his suggestion that the Zilla Panchayat mooted to submit a report to the government.
MGNREGS payments : ZP members also rued about the delayed payment for borewell digging works taken up under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). Member Mamatha Gatty said that ZP members have been insisting people to take up borewell work under MGNREGS upon the suggestion of the CEO, from last one year. Though it has been months since borewell works were completed in several households, the government has not paid them the project amount. In reply, the CEO said that of the Rs 1.13 crore pending amount in the district, the government has released Rs 73 lakh recently and Rs 40 lakh is likely to be released soon.