Published: 00:28 GMT, 4 August 2014 | Updated: 00:28 GMT, 4 August 2014
Amid the NDA government’s flip-flop on field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops, a group of scientists has sought the “urgent intervention” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stall all efforts aimed at the conduct of such experiments.
In a letter sent to Modi, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh, five scientists have raised serious concerns on behalf of the Indian scientific community regarding a recent decision by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) to approve numerous experiments on GM crops, including several GM food crops.
A group of scientists has sought the "urgent intervention" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stall field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops
The scientists include Padmabhushan P.M. Bhargava, founder director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, Dr Minoo Parabia, former professor and head of biosciences department at Veer Narmad South Gujarat University, Dr V.S. Vijayan, former chairman of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board, Dinesh Abrol, professor at the Centre for Studies in Science Policy in JNU, and Dr Tushar Chakraborty, senior scientist at the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology in Kolkata.
“It is shocking that GEAC took this decision in their first meeting after your government took charge.
"It is unfortunate that the committee continues to follow the unscientific approach towards environmental release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) when there is growing scientific evidence for the adverse impact of GMOs on human health and environment which has been repeatedly brought to their notice,” the scientists said.
“Equally important are the experiences from across the world on the potential of this technology to facilitate monopolisation of seeds by a select few multinational seed companies.
"One has seen that with Bt cotton, the only GM crop approved for commercial cultivation in our country.
"Within a decade of its approval, Monsanto, the largest biotech seed company in the world, has taken total control of our cotton seed market through its proprietary Bt cotton,” the letter said.
On November 8, 2013, over 250 eminent scientists had written to then prime minister Manmohan Singh and sought the urgent stopping of such trials and the acceptance of the final report submitted by the Supreme Courtappointed Technical Expert Committee on modern biotechnology regulation.