Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has taken a strong stance against the herbicide Paraquat, demanding an immediate ban on its sale, distribution, production, and use within the state. This decisive move comes in response to rising concerns about Paraquat’s detrimental effects on human and animal health, soil health, and the environment.
Dr. Arabinda Kumar Padhee, Principal Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, spearheads the initiative. His letter to the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India, highlights alarming evidence against Paraquat.
Reports from the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) reveal Paraquat’s toxicity, raising red flags about its impact on human health, with limited scientific research to understand its full scope. Additionally, Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR) reports a staggering 140 deaths out of 149 Paraquat poisoning cases between 2017 and 2019, urging a permanent ban. District Collectors and Chief District Agriculture Officers from over 15 districts across Odisha paint a grim picture. Nayagarh district alone witnessed a surge in farmer deaths linked to Paraquat poisoning in 2023, reflecting a wider trend. Numerous complaints and proposals further reinforce the need for action.
In light of these alarming findings, Dr. Padhee has formally invoked Section 27(2) of The Insecticides Act, 1968, requesting the Government of India to enforce an immediate statewide ban on Paraquat. This proactive step prioritizes the safety and well-being of Odisha’s citizens while protecting the environment from Paraquat’s harmful effects.