Environment activist Vandana Shiva on Thursday wrote to Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan seeking a criminal investigation against global seed giant Monsanto for genetic contamination of its herbicide tolerant Round-up Ready Flex Bt cotton.
"Over the two decades since Monsanto entered India, it has violated laws, deceived Indian farmers by making unscientific and fraudulent claims, extracted super profits through illegal royalty collection by violating India's Patent and Intellectual Property laws, pushed farmers into debt, and, as a consequence of the debt trap, to suicide," she said in her letter.
"As per the (Environmental Protection Act) Rules of 1989, a criminal investigation should be started against Monsanto. As per the government's own admission, Round Up is banned in India," she said.
Claiming Bt Cotton failure in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana had cost farmers their lives, Shiva also said Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should order a CBI probe into the matter.
She sent the letter after addressing a meeting of the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) and Department of Biotechnology on strategies to curb the illegal contamination of Ready Flex Bt cotton.
According to a release, Shiva said Monsanto was caught spreading Roundup Ready Bt Cotton, a probable carcinogen according to World Health Organisation, illegally in Maharashtra's Vidarbha without commercial approval in 2017, and called on the government and GEAC to follow the procedure under the EPA Act and stop this "to save the destruction of biodiversity and the Indian Constitution".
In the US, thousands of cancer victims were suing Monsanto and there was a strong movement to get Roundup banned in Europe, she added.
Shiva also suggested that all cottonseed from the contaminated areas should be banned, and the present refined oil and hydrogenated oils manufactures should go for mandatory testing for Roundup Ready Gene and Roundup Pesticide.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)