The Chougle siblings death case had spurred the Director of Agriculture (Inputs and Quality Control) to crackdown on pest control agencies who are operating without licences. The purpose of the drive is to weed out agencies that are performing pest control with limited knowledge or know-how.
Dr SS Adsul, director of Agriculture (Inputs and Quality Control) said, “We have taken serious cognisance of the deaths of the Versova siblings from Aluminum Phosphide poisoning, which is never used for pest control in households. A crackdown operation on unlicensed pest control operators and dealers of insecticides/pesticides has been started across Mumbai and Thane district. Stringent action will be taken against violators, including the lodging of police cases.”
Data shows that so far this year, the department has suspended licenses of seven agencies, while 330 sale licenses were cancelled, and 12.27 metric tonnes of insecticides and pesticides worth over Rs 2.17 crore was seized.
The director added that awareness about these violations is on the rise in the wake of the deaths, with many residents from Andheri calling up the department with details of pest control agents that they suspect may be violating norms.
Inputs and Quality Control department in Thane issues licences for the use and application of insecticides and pesticides across Mumbai, Thane and the Konkan region.
According to Bhimrao Kulkarni, inspector in the flying squad of the said department, probes are being conducted on two pest control companies — Balaji Pest Control located in Jogeshwari and Shree Balaji Pest Control at Mudh Island.
Kulkarni and his team had assisted the police in their search of Adarsh Stores Borivli, from where Ruksar, the pest control contractor accused in the Chougle case, had allegedly bought the Aluminum Phospide that killed Rameez and Rehab.
The team found 23 packets of Aluminum Phospide, each weighing 12 gms, and also recovered another 7.5 kg of the powder from the store. The total value of the seized item was Rs 11,250,” said the officer.
“We have already submitted our report to the Borivli court against Shah, mentioning that though Shah had licence from our office to store and sell insecticides and pesticides, he did not have the principal certificate for selling Aluminum Phospide,” said Kulkarni.
Meanwhile, Dr B S Phogat, secretary of the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee, Faridabad, said, “We have banned some formulations used in pesticides and insecticides and have already notified respective states about the same. If such formulations are being black-marketed, the concerned departments in Maharashtra should take action.”
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