Make companies responsible for illegal GM crop cultivation: Activists

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New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) Farm and green activists on Monday demanded that strict action be taken against those behind illegal distribution of Genetically Modified (GM) seeds, terming cultivation of such crops as “anti-national” and “anti-environment”.

Addressing a press conference here, the activists said that allowing GM crops would not just lead to monopoly of a few companies over the seed market, but also put the farmers under financial burden.

The activists also asked the government to make amendments in the Environment Protection Act (EPA) to make the developers liable in case of leakages of GM seeds.

With the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) having thrown the issue in the government’s court, these leaders would now meet Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar to press their demands, said Kavitha Kuruganti of Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA).

“As per the existing rules, seeds are not allowed to be distributed illegally. But it has been happening. Rather than booking the farmers, we want those behind it to be held. We want the government to make the GM crop developers legally binding for prevention of distribution of such seeds,” she said.

B.N. Chaudhary of the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) called permitting GM crops in the country an “anti-national” step.

“It is unfortunate that government agencies are silent. If the government does not take any action, we will start agitations,” he said.

Promotion of GM seeds will lead to monopoly of certain companies and exploitation of farmers as well as consumers, said Yudhvir Singh of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU).

“We do not want to obstruct the progress. But we do not want any technology to be imposed on our traditional seeds. GM technology is harmful to our health. It is anti-farmer, anti-environment,” he said.

Kapil Shah of JATAN trust said that there were some farmers’ groups who were pushing for illegal cultivation of GM crops.

“We are not against science. But the GM technology should be regulated. And action should be taken against those who are influential in illegal cultivation of GM crops,” he said.

–IANS

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