VJAS demands Probe on revoking Ban on Mahyco Monsanto Biotech and massive sale Roundup Ready Flex (RRF) Bt. cotton seed
Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS),cotton farmer's advocacy group in agrarian crisis driven of east Maharashtra has demanded Judicial probe in the matter of revoking the earlier order of the Director of Inputs and Quality Control (DIQC), the licensing authority in Maharashtra, banning Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (MMB) under the provisions of the 2009 Maharashtra Cotton Act which states that all trade activities of the company are illegal as original order said that the company was cheating innocent cotton farmers by supplying sub-standard seeds, and was also involved in its black marketing by creating artificial shortage of supplies and ignoring notices of unfair trade practices ,hence sudden change in Govt. stand when all criminal cases against MMB are pending give wide room for suspicion that MMB has paid bribe to concern Minister and authorities to get interim relief hence there should be judicial probe, said Kishore Tiwari of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti.
"We are shocked with U turn of state agriculture minister, Radhakrishnna Vikhe Patil who told the state legislative assembly last year that the government was convinced that the company was cheating innocent cotton farmers by supplying sub-standard seeds, and was also involved in its black marketing by creating artificial shortage of supplies and ignoring notices of unfair trade practices and action was on the basis of the complaints from cotton farmers as well as reports from agriculture officers, more over Govt. also filed caveats in the high court in case the company goes in appeal claiming that any violations of the Ban order will lead to criminal action against the company ,this is proven example how MNCs like Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (MMB) the administration hence we demand detail probe in this episode"Tiwari added.
Illegal Roundup Ready Flex (RRF) BT cotton openly sold in Vidarbha
Whereas Mahyco (Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company) has manged lift controversial ban in Maharashtra to sale it’s approved BG-I BG-II variety of Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) Cotton now same Govt. has turned blind eye to open sale non-approved Bt cottonseeds with Roundup Ready Flex (RRF) technology as Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) asked the firm to repeat trials sale this variety which being proved too unsafe to use in part of world as RRF is a technology that kills weeds in cotton fields when herbicide is sprayed on the field only weed is killed, while cotton plants live on as the technology gives them biological strength to withstand the ill effects of herbicide but it’s environmental safety is matter of concern GEAC objected to use of Bt RRF and put it hold but surprisingly in remote part of west vidarbha 'roundup ready' (RR) variety of Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) Cotton is being openly sold @Rs.1500/- per pocket which is highly objectionable and made mockery of administration as agriculture deptt. Officials directely involved in this unfair trade when Roundup Ready Flex (RRF) variety yet to receive approval for usage from Government of India,Tiwari said.
“Monsanto had developed a variety of cotton, known as ‘roundup ready’ or RR, in 1970s and the variety hasn’t got approval for commercial sale in India. Second-field trials are yet to be allowed but farmers are using it (RR) illegally. we suspect that due to proximity of US GM seed MNC with union agriculture minister shrad pawar Mahyco (Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company) must have got the seed from USA as you are a major seed developer, it’s not difficult to develop the seed variety as the gene is already with you. The use is illegal but farmers are using it,” Tiwari added
The RR variety is used for managing of weeds growing in and around cotton plants. “Weeds are unwanted plants around crops drawing nourishment from nutrients of the soil and this sometimes hampers growth of crops and RR has a gene which protects the cotton crop from herbicides (used for weeding) but it has long term permanent damage to soil and ecology and Experts believe that use of these varieties can damage fertility of soil in the long run. hence Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), which functions under ministry of environment and forest, Government of India, is the body that approves manufacture, usage, export and import of genetically-modified organisms or cellshas not given permission for commercial sale of RR variety of Bt Cotton and its upgraded RR Flex by Monsanto is still pending with GEAC hence there is no clearance for commercial use of RR or RR Flex Bt Cotton from GEAC ,all Trials for the same are illegal hence we demand immediate high level probe RR and RR Flex Bt Cotton illegal sale to innocent cotton farmers ,VJAS chief Tiwari urged to PMO