Features Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute | October 29, 2014 | 5:55 pm IST Maharashtra saw the opposition to open air field trials of Genetically Modified (GM) crops reach a new height yesterday. Representatives of various people’s movements representing farmers, farm labourers, scientists and other social activists reached Rahuri and demanded a dialogue on why Maharashtra continues to do the controversial open field trials of GM crops claiming that the GM crops are a disguise to exploit farmers and they also felt that more emphasis should be given on developing traditional varieties. The GMO being tested in Rahuri is Monsanto's herbicide tolerant, insect-resistant maize. Rajesh Krishnan, Convenor of Coalition for a GM Free India stated, “The field trials being permitted is unscientific and a threat not just to the people of the state but the nation itself.” The people's movements gathered at the Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth (MPKV) and took a pledge to step up the Jan Andolan against GM field trials in Maharashtra. A delegation also went to meet the District Collector who is authorized as per EPA (Environment Protection Act) to stop any open air trials of GMOs, to demand an immediate halt to the trials. Owing to increasing public opposition as well as recommendations from important agencies like the Parliamentary Standing Committee, Gujarat government has in the recent past joined many other states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana, Karnataka as they formally announced their decision to disallow field trials of GM food crops in the state.