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The Centre has sought the Supreme Court’s permission to use the available stock of banned pesticide endosulfan for agricultural purpose on the ground that incinerating it would cost the exchequer Rs 210 crore.

 “The cost of disposal of live stock of endosulfan by incineration shall be more than Rs 210.82 crore, whereas phasing out would not only result in saving this huge amount on disposal but would also save the product (stock) worth Rs 31.36 lakh, which would contribute to increased crop production,” the Agriculture Ministry told the court in an affidavit.

 The ministry also referred to a report of the Combined Expert Committee on Endosulfan, constituted on the apex court’s direction, to say that 18 other states, other than Kerala and Karnataka, favoured use of the banned pesticide as it was cheap.The committee had also said the pesticide was “safe to pollinators without any ill-effects on human beings, animals and environment”, the government told the court.

 The ministry also referred to the Stockholm Convention held last year which had advised phasing out of the pesticide over a five-year period.”Thus, use of endosulfan, which has not expired, may be allowed in India as per the provisions of Stockholm Convention so as to exhaust the existing stock of raw materials and finished products,” the ministry said.

 In its affidavit, the Centre has recommended resumption of manufacture of endosulfan from the existing stock of raw material, but said there should be a ban on its imports.

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