Agri Business

Centre claims it is not aware of pro-GM crop movement

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on July 22, 2019 Published on July 22, 2019

A farmers’ group has declared a civil disobedience movement in Maharashtra against the ban on GM crops   -  Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

Pro-GM group says 25% of cotton crop in Maharashtra is HTBT

Even as farmers in Maharashtra under the banner of Shetkari Sanghatana continue to sow HTBT cotton seeds, the Centre has stated that it is not aware of the spread of a pro-GM crop movement in Maharashtra.

Interestingly, according to farmers, the pro-GM crop movement in the State has resulted in brining 25 per cent cotton field in the State under HTBT cultivation.

Rajya Sabha member D Raja on Monday asked whether the government was aware of the spread of a movement for pro-GM crops in Maharashtra in defiance of the ban on planting unapproved HTBT cotton seeds. Babul Supriyo, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said in a written reply, “A Farmers’ Union had sown Herbicide Tolerant BT cotton seed as a token in July 2019. The government is not aware of spread of a pro-GM crop movement in Maharashtra.”

Farmers in Maharashtra have launched a ‘civil disobedience’ movement by sowing genetically modified HTBT cotton to protest the Centre’s ban on GM crops. Over 1,000 farmers participated in a ‘civil disobedience’ movement in Maharashtra’s Akoli Jahagir village on June 10, sowing genetically modified HTBT cotton. Since then, farmers have been openly defying ban on GM crop, daring the government to take action.

Even as the State police has filed cases against some farmers, the Shetkari Sanghatana has continued its agitation. Leaders have said that they will strongly resist any move by the government to destroy the HTBT cotton crop in their fields.

One of the Sanghatana leaders said that the State government has dropped enough hints that it would not initiate any action against the farmers who have sown HTBT cotton.

Meanwhile, the Minister told the Rajya Sabha on Monday that the Ministry had received complaints on illegal cultivation of GM cotton and Brinjal in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Punjab.

“ All States/Union Territories (UTs) have been directed to constitute and strengthen State/UT Biotechnology Coordination Committees and District Level Committees for monitoring instances of illegal cultivation of GM Crops and taking appropriate action under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986,” he said.

Published on July 22, 2019
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