New Delhi,30 July-2014(FP): On a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi pressed for greater use of research for boosting the agriculture sector, two RSS-linked outfits met Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and claimed the clearance given by biotech regulator for field trials of genetically-modified crops be put on hold. The government has said no decision has been taken as yet.
Representatives of Swadeshi Jagran Manch and Bhartiya Kissan Sangh met Javadekar and sought a ban on field trials of GM crops of certain varieties of rice, brinjal and cotton among others.
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar. Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.
They apprised him about their concerns over the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) clearing earlier this month 15 proposals for confined field trials for rice, brinjal, chickpea, mustard and cotton.
They claimed the minister has assured them that the decision about field trials of GM crops has been “put on hold”.
“The Minister assured the delegation that the decision about the field trials of GM Crops has been put on hold by the government,” All-India Co-convener of the Manch Ashwani Mahajan said.
When contacted, Javadekar confirmed the meeting but asserted that the government has not taken any decision on the contentious issue.
“Government has not taken any decision on the issue. Government will not take any decision in haste,” he said.
The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) had earlier this month cleared 15 proposals for confined field trials for rice, brinjal, chickpea, mustard and cotton.
The delegation reminded the Minister that Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture in its report on GM food crops – prospects and impacts, tabled in Parliament on 9 August, 2013 has clearly recommended the ‘stopping of all field trials under any garb’.