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Delhi HC Stays Govt’s Order Curbing Glyphosate Use for 3 Months

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday postponed for three months the implementation of the Union Government's notification restricting the use of glyphosate through pest control operators (PCOS).

Shivam Dwivedi
Tea industry expressed concerns about new glyphosate use standards & requested an exemption from the notification
Tea industry expressed concerns about new glyphosate use standards & requested an exemption from the notification

The High Court issued its decision after hearing petitions from various crop protection associations. CropLife India and the Agro Chem Federation of India, among others, had petitioned the court against the Centre's notification, claiming that there was no PCO infrastructure in the country and that farmers would face difficulties with weed management, resulting in higher costs.

Fearing health risks, the Centre issued a notification last month restricting the use of glyphosate. It stated that only the PCOs should use it. Glyphosate is one of the most commonly used herbicides in the country for weed control.

According to industry sources, the Court also directed the Centre to consult with all stakeholders to find a solution. CropLife India Secretary-General Durgesh C Sharma stated, "The Delhi High Court's decision is favourable, considering the infrastructure of PCOs in the country. No glyphosate-related incident has occurred, and its restricted use will primarily affect small and marginal farmers."

"As per the Delhi High Court's order, and as a responsible association, we will continue to collaborate and work with the Government and all other stakeholders to find the most appropriate solutions to ease farming operations," Sharma said.

Parikshit Mundhra, Chairman of the Agro Chem Federation of India (ACFI), praised the government for agreeing to reconsider the order restricting the use of glyphosate through pesticide operators. He stated that the industry is prepared to provide all scientific details and supporting documents to the government to make a logical and fair decision based on reality and aid in better cultivation.

"Without pest control operator (PCO) infrastructure in rural India, the notification for restricted glyphosate use was meaningless. As a result, today's HC order is both logical and justified. The agriculture fraternity strongly wishes that the notification be withdrawn as soon as possible," said ACFI Director General Kalyan Goswami.

In addition to the agrochemical industry association, the tea industry expressed concerns about the new glyphosate use standards and requested an exemption from the notification. The Tea Board recently wrote to the Commerce Ministry requesting that the Agriculture Ministry take up the issue of exempting the tea industry from glyphosate use standards. According to the Tea Board, the lack of PCOs in many remote locations will impact weed control, resulting in significant yield losses.

On the other hand, pesticide handling personnel in tea gardens have already been well-experienced and skilled squads using glyphosate for many years by the Plant Protection Code of Tea Board India. It was suggested that pesticide handling personnel of tea plantations trained by scientific personnel of Tea Research Institutes on the safe handling of glyphosate as per PCO norms be issued certificates, and tea plantations are allowed to use the services of such trained personnel for glyphosate application.

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