Describing the Seed Bill-2004 as the death bill for farmers, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), the country'slargest farmers? organisation, has urged the Central Government not to replace the present Seeds Act, 1966 with the new Seed Act. The new Seed Bill-2004 is scheduled to be tabled in Parliament in this monsoon session. The Kisan Sangh said if the Seed Bill becomes a law, the farmers? freedom and welfare would be lost. ?There are provisions in the Bill, which restrict the rights of the farmers in one way or the other including major penalties or fine and prosecution,? said Shri P.S. Vats, vice president of BKS.
Shri Vats further said the Bill would stop the farmers saved seeds and is intended to replace the same with private seed industries. The barter and exchange of seeds among the farmers at local level on zero cost is prohibited. Compulsory registration with complicated procedure of seeds/dealers is a bar to the freedom of farmers in the field of seeds. The Bill also empowers the inspectors to raid the farmers? huts, houses and fields and the present sovereignty of farmers in conserving biodiversity in seeds would be robed. The freedom of farmers in the field of seeds will come to an end and the present bill if enacted in its present form shall shatter the economy of the country itself and shall have far-reaching and very serious adverse effects on it.
Shri Vats said the present bill is aimed indirectly to give the field of seeds a purely commercial industry, which as a matter of policy is not extended to the agriculture sphere till date. He said the bill is anti-farmer and does not put the liability on seeds dealer in case of failure of crops on account of seeds, resulting in heavy damages. The Kisan Sangh leader said the present Seeds Act of 1966 is serving the country very well and there are ample provisions for maintaining the quality of seeds and it provides for seed testing and seed certification. (FOC)