Parliamentary panel slams Moily over field trials issue of GM crops

Recent government’s decision to allow field trials of genetically modified (GM) food crops has come under severe attack of a parliamentary committee which slammed the environment minister M Veerappa Moily for giving his nod to this effect.

The panel suggested that any test should not be undertaken till the Centre puts in place all regulatory, monitoring, oversight and surveillance structure.

Referring to the recent decision of Moily and the government’s regulator Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), the panel on agriculture in its latest report said, ‘the committee strongly deprecates this’ as it is contrary to its earlier recommendation.

Moily had recently given his go ahead for field trials of over 200 transgenic varieties of GM crops which had got clearance from the GEAC in its meeting in March last year. Subsequently, the government’s regulator had on 21 March re-validated 10 varieties of transgenic crops including wheat, rice, maize and cotton and allowed multi-national seed companies to go for ‘confined field trials’ of these varieties.

Close on the heels of these decisions and the parliamentary committee’s report, various farmers’ organisations – including the pro-BJP Swadeshi Jagran Manch - have, meanwhile, written to the Election Commission, urging it to issue direction to the government to withhold the recent permissions of field trials.
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