Business Standard

Case against farmers for planting GM crops; protest continues


Press Trust of India Akola/Nagpur
In a first in Maharashtra, a case was registered against at least 12 farmers in Akola district for sowing herbicide-tolerant Bt (HTBT) cotton, even though farmers elsewhere sowed banned GM varieties by way of protest.
The farmers at Adgaon and Akoli Jahangir villages had planted HTBT cotton as part of a protest organized by the Shetkari Sanghatna against the Union government's ban on genetically modified (GM) Bt cotton and brinjal.
On June 10, several hundred farmers had sowed GM cotton and brinjal seeds in the east Maharashtra district.
The Sanghatna has been opposing the ban on GM crops claiming they give higher yields at lower cost.
Two FIRs were registered at Hiwarkhed and Akot police stations on the complaints lodged by the agriculture department, a police officer said Wednesday.
Sanghatna spokesperson Lalit Bahale is among those in named in the FIRs.
"They have been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, Environment (Protection) Act and Seeds Act," said inspector Somnath Pawar.
The use of GM crops is tightly regulated under the "Rules for the Manufacture/Use/Import/Export and Storage of Hazardous Microorganisms, Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells, 1989" under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
As per the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, the evaluation of each application of GM crop is done on a case-to-case basis after a thorough examination of health, environment, food and feed safety assessment studies.
Meanwhile, farmers under the banner of the Shetkari Sanghatna sowed Bt cotton and brinjal seeds in Saoner tehsil of Nagpur district Wednesday.
Sanghatna leader Ram Neole told PTI that hundreds of farmers and activists gathered at the farm of Arun Kedar at Patansaongi village and planted Bt cotton seeds on two acres.
Activists Anil Dhanwat, Wamanrao Chatap, Ranjana Mamarde and Kedar addressed the farmers, he said.
"Farmers in countries like the US and China are far ahead of us in crop yields because they are using these new (GM) seeds," Neole said.

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First Published: Jun 26 2019 | 11:15 PM IST

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