Maharashtra needs to revisit the approval for GM crop field trails : Dr. Devinder Sharma

Maharashtra's nod for GM crop field trials: Problem is the falling farm incomes; and the solution being offered is the controversial GM crop technology.

It is not a coincidence. The State-level expert committee headed by nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar, which gave clearance for field testing five genetically modified (GM) crops in Maharashtra, did so while releasing a report on ‘Global Status of Biotech Crops’ by the international GM industry lobby group, ISAAA.

I don’t see any reason why an expert committee should be releasing a publication of the GM industry. Unless it is representing the biotech industry’s commercial interests, the Anil Kakodkar committee has no business to be officially releasing an industry annual report. I wonder if the expert committee will also release an excellent report by Coalition for GM Free India, which has a foreword from the eminent agricultural scientist Dr M S Swaminathan, entitled: “Compilation of scientific studies on the adverse impacts of GM crops on human health and environment.” This report is a compilation of more than 400 scientific studies.

Maharashtra has given a ‘no-objection certificate’ for field trials of GM varieties of five crops – rice, brinjal, maize, chickpea and cotton. This approval comes at a time when most States have refused to permit field trails.