Hamara Beej

Monday, November 16, 2009

GM Foods opponents castigated remarks by the Union Agriculture Minister of State

Patna,16.11.09. GM Foods opponents here today castigated remarks by the Union Agriculture Minister of State that the country cannot afford to stop the use of genetically modified technology, saying it was “premature” and “unscientific” on the part of a Central Minister to issue such statements.
Minister of State for Agriculture K. V. Thomas had said in New Delhi that India cannot oppose the use of the genetically modified technology as it wants to increase crop yields and manage the present agriculture crisis.
 However, the GM-Free Bihar Abhiyaan, which is spreading awareness in Bihar on the disadvantages of GM Foods, said the central minister’s statement was premature and without any scientific basis.
“The minister should have refrained from such statements when a nation-wide debate is going on genetically modified foods, particularly on the aspects of biosafety, environment and consumer choice,” it said, adding, “There are environmental and economic concerns about the GM technology.”
GM-Free Bihar Abhiyaan Convenor Pankaj Bhushan said there are health concerns also being expressed. The World Health Organization has noted that while theoretical discussions have covered a lot of ground, three key concerns were debated - the GM crops' tendencies to provoke allergic reactions, transfer gene to the intestinal bacteria, and the movement of transfer of genes to conventional crops or related species in the wild.
Even scientists, who support genetic engineering in general, are concerned about a world in which a lot of toxin-carrying genes move around. It could pose not only health risk, but also increase resistance among pests.
When it was introduced in India, Bt cotton was promoted as a wonder product that would save farmers caught in pesticide resistance, low yields and spiralling debts. But in several places that was not the case.
Bhushan said even the approval of Bt Brinjal by Centre’s Genetic Engineering Approval Committee has drawn a lot of ire.
Even the Muzaffarpur MP Capt. Jai Narayan Nishad, who had been Union Environment and Forests Minister, has written to Bihar CM and the Centre on the issue.

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