New Delhi Television online reports that the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) and the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh – farmers – met India’s Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar yesterday to protest against the permission given by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) on July 18 to field trials of 15 GM crops, including rice, mustard, cotton, chickpea and brinjal.
They cited reports by a parliamentary standing committee on agriculture and a Supreme Court-appointed “Technical Expert Committee” to demand that the decision on going ahead with the field trials be deferred.
The Environment Minister, in a statement issued later by the SJM said “the decision about field trials of GM crops had been put on hold.”
On the SJM website the press release gives a number of reasons for its opposition to this technology:
- there has been no proper scientific evaluation about the probable long term impact of GM Crops on human health and soil, as the technology, which involves introducing a ‘foreign’ gene, is dangerous because once introduced, it is irreversible;
- there has been no scientific study to prove that GM technology does increase productivity, as is claimed by the promoters of the technology;
- the environmental costs might outweigh any benefits that the introduction of such a technology brings;
- a few multinational corporations, principally Monsanto, have a virtual monopoly on the GM technology; if a country’s food production becomes overly dependent on seeds and other inputs from a handful of such companies, it will compromise its food security.
SJM told the Minister that the government should not rely on the biased and manipulated reports of vested interests among the industry and should institute enquiries about the potential impact of GM food crops on the health of the soil, human and other species, to ensure that no harm is done to traditional gene pool /biodiversity of the nation, soil, food security and health of the people of India.
Read more about the SJM’s approach on the LWM website