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MRTPC reserves order on AP Govt's petition against Monsanto

By Staff
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New Delhi, May 2 (UNI) The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) today reserved its order on the petition filed by Andhra Pradesh Government accusing the American seed major Monsanto of practising monopolistic tradeand charging abnormally high price from farmers for Bt cotton seeds.

The Andhra Pradesh Government had filed the petition on January 2, saying there was no scientific basis for the company charging Rs 1,250 for a packet of 450 grams of Bt cotton seeds, sufficient for sowing in half acre only.

''The high price is detrimental to public interest involving lakhs of farmers,'' the petition had stated.

In India, Monsanto is licensed to the local seed companies through Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) Limited which is a 50-50 joint venture between Mahyco and Monsanto.

The company had kept the seed price different in China, the US, Australia, Brazil and India where commercial cultivation of Bt Cotton is allowed, the state government said.

In its submission, Monsanto claimed that the MRTPC does not have jurisdiction to restrain the company from selling the seed and fix its price. It denied following monopolistic trade practices, saying seeds produced by companies such as the Hyderabad-based JK Agrigentics were also priced at Rs 1,095.

The Andhra Pradesh government, on the other hand, opposed this, saying only Monsanto was selling genetically modified seed in the state and cited section 12(a) of the MRTP Act to say that the Commission could grant interim-injunction in the matter.

UNI JSS/VN PM GC2057

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