Vidarbha farmers to protest Maharashtra Govt. move to allows field Trials of GM Crops
December 1st 2013
While debate over environment publice health safety impact of introduction and adoption of transgenic crops in the country is still raging and Supreme Court and indian parliament is till considering the critical aspects of serious objection raised by experts Maharashtra Government has cleared field trials of several transgenic crops in at least 28 cases is being strongly opposed by farm activist group Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti and organized protest on Monday 2nd December ,demanding the withdrawal all 28 NOC given for GM crop trials. Vidarbha cotton farmers will lodge its protest and strong displeasure over the Maharashtra Government’s move of granting NOC to field trials of transgenic crops, VJAS for stopping the trials, will move Central Government as well as the Supreme Court” said Kishor Tiwari of (VJAS) that has been opposing transgenic/genetically modified crops.
Tiwari alleged that Sharad Pawar, Union Agriculture Minister; and Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra have supported multi-national corporations bringing in ‘dangerous’ transgenic crops into Indian markets. “Transgenic food crops pose a great health risk to human beings and also impact the environment adversely. Hence, many developed countries have banned these crops. Now, these companies have entered the Indian scene and they want to create their own monopoly in seeds of various crops. This needs to be opposed,” he said.
According to Tiwari, the committee led by Dr Anil Kakodkar comprised all the ‘pro-Government’ members and hence it took the controversial decision of granting NOC to companies for conducting field trials of transgenic crops, overlooking biosafety aspects and risk to human beings as well as environment. As far as Maharashtra is concerned, he said, Bt Cotton crop had proved to be a great failure and had resulted in suicides of over 10,000 cotton-growers over the past 10 years. “It is beyond comprehension as to why the Government is pushing forth the agenda of transgenic crop companies,” he added.
Earlier last year following a heavy pressure mounted by NGOs and activists, Central Government had directed the agriculture input companies to seek ‘no objection certificate’ (NOC) from the Governments in the States where they wanted to conduct field trials of their transgenic crops. In Maharashtra, there were no guidelines regarding issuance of NOC in such cases. As a result, Maharashtra Government formed a 10-member committee headed by eminent nuclear scientist and Padma Vibhushan Dr Anil Kakodkar but decision has been taken without taking farm expert and environmental expert who are having critical objection over Gm seed hence we are protesting the move, Tiwari added.