MP protests against trials of GM Maize

by jeeg 28. April 2011 19:37

After Bihar complained against the clandestine experiments of GM food crops in the state, it is Madhya Pradesh's turn now. State agriculture development minister Ramkrishn Kusmaria has written to the Centre against the clearance by Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) to GM Maize trials in the state.

GEAC is the statutory authority under the environment ministry to clear trials and introduction of genetically modified crops. It had come under flak from environment minister Jairam Ramesh for permitting GM food crop trials without his knowledge. Ramesh's ire against GEAC was a consequence of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar's complaint that agriculture was a state subject and the Centre could not decide on the issue on its own.

Now Kusmaria has written along the same lines to the central government. "The GEAC has given permission for trials of GM Maize in Madhya Pradesh. It is shocking to see that during Rabi season 2010-11, the GEAC had given permission in India for open air trials of even Monsanto's GM Maize," he wrote.

"Government of Madhya Pradesh has taken a decision to prohibit all environmental release of GMOs and keep the state totally free of GM food. We would also request you to reconsider the policy on GM in the national scale and declare a moratorium on all GM food crops," he added.

While Ramesh had put a moratorium on the introduction of Bt Brinjal by Monsanto, a complete ban on all GM food crops has not been proposed or discussed at the Centre.

To the contrary, a committee set up by Ramesh to review the biosafety concerns about Bt Brinjal met for the first time amid accusations that it was consulting only GM crop developers who would naturally favour the introduction of other GM food crops.

Anti-GM crop groups also warned that at least five members of the committee reviewing Bt Brinjal were themselves involved in GM crop development. They noted that one member – J L Karihaloo -- was part of an organization funded by Mahyco.

Nitin Sethi, Times of India


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