Industry Minister says he’ll countersue over farm-chemical ban U-turn

PHOTO: Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, under fire over his ‘recollection’ of what happened at the meeting that reversed the ‘ban’ decision on agri-chemicals – Thai PBS World

A war of words and threatened litigation has broken out over the reversal of the ban on agri-chemicals glyphosate, paraquat and chlorpyrifos.

Thai Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit now says he’ll countersue organisations that have threatened a lawsuit against him over the U-Turn on the ban on three farm chemicals. A network of advocates for the ban is threatening to file suits against the minister and the National Hazardous Substances Committee.

Suriya says he’d have his lawyers prepare a legal response after BioThai, a network of organisations supporting the ban, announced their plan to take legal action against him.

BioThai claims reversal of the ban on the herbicide glyphosate and the delay in the bans on paraquat and pesticide chlorpyrifos are illegal. But Suriya insists the NHSC meeting he chaired last week agreed unanimously on a new resolution, reversing previous committee’s resolution to ban the three toxins from December 1 of this year. At least one member of the committee has already spoken publicly that the alleged ‘unanimous vote’ at the meeting is incorrect.

Other senior members of the NHSC committee have also challenged the Minister’s recollection of events.

Read that story HERE.

Immediately after the meeting Suriya announced that the committee would lift the ban on glyphosate and delay the ban on paraquat and chlorpyrifos for six months. He says the committee’s meeting was recorded and the audio will prove it agreed on a new resolution.

He dismissed arguments that committee members must raise their hands in a show of support to make a resolution legitimate.

“I had already sought the opinions of the meeting participants, making a raising of hands unnecessary. The resolution is legal. It was already scrutinised by lawyers.”

Suriya says he reported to the PM about the need to postpone the ban, and that he had agreed with the committee’s judgement, noting that the Government cannot afford to pay compensation in case stocks of the three substances are seized and destroyed.

There are still stocks in the hands of farmers and traders, estimated to be worth up to 10 billion baht.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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