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The insecticide industry was up in arms against banning of Endosulfan, an input used in agriculture production, saying the European Union (EU) lobby wanted its elimination to destroy 70 per cent of the world exports of the product from India.
The industry was of the view that arguments put forward by an international committee for imposing the ban was not based on scientific evidence, but by the brute display of voting power by the members.
The manufacturers, who came under one umbrella, dared the committee to bring forth scientific data, justifying its proposed ban.
They said that they would be willing to swallow the bullet if it was proved on the basis of emperical evidence that it causes dreaded diseases like cancer.
At a joint press conference, representatives of Pesticides Manufacturers and Formulators Association of India (PMFAI), Endosulfan Manufacturers and Formulators Association (EMFA) and International Stewardship Centre (ISC), argued that the EU has alternate products which it can bring into use as an insecticide, but India will be at complete loss if the ban is effected.
Talking to reporters, ISC chairman R Hariharan said on the basis of submissions made by EU, the Chemical Review Committee of Persistent Organic Pollutant had recommended Endosulfan for listing as a (POP) which is based on voting, rather than on scientific data.
Several countries, including India and China have strongly opposed the decision which has been taken by voting, and favoured decision making by consensus.
Though the Stockholm Convention is yet to take a final decision on the recommendation on Endosulfan in April 2011, Mr Hariharan said a number of countries announced a ban or a phase out of the product over a 3 to 5 year period.
'Based on these recommendations, over 60 countries have joined the EU call for a ban on Endosulfan,' the chairman said.
The 60 countries include 27 EU member states and 21 countries in Africa.
Strangely none of the independent regulatory actions in many of these countries have been based on incidences of adverse human health in any of these countries, he said.
He said the EU manufacturers, which hold nearly 60 per cent of world's exports of chemicals, intends to maintain its control over chemicals which are the second largest traded merchandise in the world, next only to fuels.
India's share in the global Endosulfan market is over 70 per cent, Mr Hariharan said.
The European manufacturers, whose exports share of Endosulfan is declining, have decided to stop selling the product by the end of this year.
Speaking on the occasion, PMFAI president Pradip Dave said thousands of farmers using Endosulfan have not had any issues relating to human health.
Currently, the Indian market of Endosulfan is about 12 million litres annually valued at Rs 270 crore.
In India, there are three manufacturers of Endosulfan, including Hindustan Insecticides Ltd.
At present, the overall Indian agrochemical market stands at Rs 5,200 crore and Endosulfan Rs 300 crore. UNI
by S. C.
27 december 2010, World News > Asia