The Maharashtra Government on Friday set rolling the process to ban Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech from selling Bt cotton seeds by issuing a show cause notice to it. The move comes a day after Agriculture Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil assured in the State Assembly that action would be taken against the firm.
A joint venture between Mahyco and Monsanto, Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech has been in the eye of the storm for the last few months. According to officials in the Agriculture Department, the seed supplier has to answer several charges, including hoarding of seeds and black marketing.
Such malpractices were allegedly done by providing doctored statistics to the government regarding seed stocks and by selling less of it in the open market. The cotton seeds were supplied on the basis of prior bookings from dealers and retailers. As against the actual availability of 16.76 lakh packets of Bt cotton seeds, only 2.22 lakh packets turned up in Maharashtra till June last year. This artificial shortage led to skyrocketing of seed prices in the black market.
In April, Mahyco officials were arrested for indulging in black marketing of cotton seeds. Mahyco also faces several cases under Section 420 and 406 of the IPC for cheating and criminal breach of trust at Aurangabad, Jalna, Beed, Nashik, Dhule, Jalgaon, Nandurbar, Nagpur, Ahmednagar, Chandrapur, Nanded, Parbhani, Latur, Amravati, Yavatmal, Buldhana, Washim and Wardha.