The Centre today extended till June the deadline on exemption given to traders for fumigating all imported agri-commodities including pulses at Indian ports instead of the country of origin.
The current exemption is valid till March 31.
"It has been extended till June for all farm commodities including pulses. Till we don't have an alternative to methyl bromide, we have decided to allow fumigation methyl bromide upon arrival in India," a senior Agriculture Ministry official told PTI.
Fumigation of consignments with methyl bromide, a restricted use pesticide, will be allowed in India from approved treatment providers at the ports of entry and on payment of penal fees, the official added.
The Agriculture Ministry has issued an order in this regard, the official added.
"The consignments of all imported agri-commodities, whose date of Bill of Lading in the country of export is 30th June, 2017 or before will be allowed without offshore Methyl Bromide fumigation from those countries, which certify discontinuance of this chemical for phytosanitary measure," the order said.
The move will benefit pulses traders from Canada the world's largest pulses exporter -- which has banned the use of the fumigant on environmental grounds.
Welcoming the move, India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) Pravin Dongre said, "Seamless supply of imported pulses play a critical role in ensuring adequate supplies of key pulses required in the country and in stabilizing price."
"We are glad that a lentil like yellow peas, the cheapest pulses variety available to Indians and heavily import dependant, will now continue to reach the common man," he said.
IPGA is committed to extend its full cooperation to the government in finding an alternate fumigant that conforms to internationally accepted standards so that such issues are addressed on a long term basis, he added.
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