India has some of the strongest anti-GMO activists in the world, and for good reason. But now the country’s Environmental Minister is giving the O.K. for bullying biotech and Big Ag to conduct trials for more than 200 transgenic varieties of GMO crops. Minister M Veerappa Moily is getting some serious backlash from a parliamentary committee due to this health damaging decision.
Moily is being criticized by the committee since it has repeatedly recommended disallowing GM crop trials until the Centre puts in place all regulatory, monitoring, oversight and surveillance structures to make sure that GM seed is actually safe to plant. Moily’s decision goes against some very real scientific evidence that proves GM crops are not only cancerous and damaging to the human reproductive and digestive organs, but also causes long-term, and serious effects on the ecosystem. Moily is also clearly ignoring the fact that farmers are going bankrupt trying to plant crops with GM seed.
Navdanya, an GMO-Free nonprofit says:
“Contrary to the three myths i.e. the myth of feeding the hunger, protecting the planet and food safety, that are being used to make genetic engineering the dominant technology used in the production and processing of food, our research and campaigns have highlighted the deepening crisis of hunger and starvation, debt and farmers suicides caused by high cost but unreliable GM and hybrid seeds.”
Even his own political peers are nonplussed with Moily’s decision. Moily and the government’s regulator Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) in its latest report said:
“. . . the Committee strongly deprecates this” as it is contrary to an earlier recommendation.
Under this ludicrous decision, numerous varieties of transgenic crops including wheat, maize, cotton, and rice created by multinational companies with an aim of total monopoly over agriculture will be given permission to conduct ‘confined field trials,’ but there is no such thing since cross-pollination of crops happens about as frequently as the sun shines.
Various farmers’ organizations — including the pro-BJP Swadeshi Jagran Manch – have written to the Election Commission, urging it to issue direction to the government to withhold the recent permissions of field trials. They also demanded an issuing order, which would stop all new permissions being given to multinational companies to plant anything until the election process is over, claiming Moily’s recent decision violated the model of conduct expected by a ruling party.
These complaints are not new; however, since numerous groups have been outraged at GMO planting across the country.