Khammam becoming a hub of spurious seed racket?

Khammam division, the major chilli-growing belt of Telangana, seems to be fast emerging a hub of well-entrenched inter-state spurious seed racket if the seizure of a huge quantity of spurious chilli seed from an unlicensed seed manufacturing unit at Gudimalla village in Khammam rural mandal by the task force police on Wednesday is any indication.

Acting on a tip-off, a joint team of task force sleuths and officials of the Agricultural department had raided a seed manufacturing unit at Gudimalla near here and confiscated a large number of bags containing “spurious chilli seed” ready for dispatch, sources said.

The team led by the task force wing ACP G Venkat Rao had detained a worker of the unit for questioning and launched a hunt to nab the owner of the unit, who is at large.

The task force personnel handed over the seized materials to the Khammam rural police for investigation.

The owner of the unlicensed unit was suspected to have links with members of some organised gangs involved in sale of spurious seed and adulterated chilli powder in Maharashtra and a few other States, sources said.

The incident comes less than three months after the task force team unearthed an illegal seed packaging unit at Gopalapuram in Tirumalayapalem mandal and seized a huge quantity of spurious seed and chemcial-laced bio-products.

There were other instances where the task force police confiscated adulterated chilli powder at Ayyagaripeta in Sattupalli mandal and at a border village in Madhira mandal in the last few years.

The clandestine operation of the unlicensed seed manufacturing unit at Gudimalla in Khammam Municipal Corporation limits exposed lapses in surveillance, said Telangana Rythu Sangham district secretary M Ramesh.

Chilli farmers bore the brunt of inter-state gangs involved in sale of spurious seed in the past, he said, alleging that spurious seed had taken a toll on several chilli farmers in Madhira and Konijerla mandals in the last season.

The Agriculture department should work in close coordination with law enforcement agencies to curb the spurious seed menace and invoke Preventive Detention (PD) Act against those involved in the illegal trade to save farmers from their nefarious designs, he said.

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