Contrary to Supreme Court order over the issue, Environment Minister Veerappa Moily has given a go ahead to field trials of 200 odd food and non food genetically modified crop varieties. The Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had already spoke in favor of these field trials. The concerned government body for approvals, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee – GEAC, had given its go ahead to these 200 plus GM crop varieties March last year. But the then environment minister Jayanti Natrajan had withheld the clearance over severe objections from anti GM crop groups.
The Supreme Court moratorium is not biding on the GEAC decision, Moily said while giving his go ahead. But the concerned state government can reject such testing on their soil, Moily clarified. While Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra and Gujarat are in favor of allowing testing of genetically modified crops, many other states are yet to take a call on the issue. Till now, only BT Cotton had been allowed to be grown in India. BT Brinjal had also passed field trials, but was not allowed by anti GM groups to be irrigated.
Several Anti GM crop groups and environment protection groups are calling the latest government action anti people, anti environment and anti nature. Eminent lawyer Prashant Bhushan had called the permission against Supreme Court’s decision.
The contentious issue will be severely debated and fought over as an attempt by multi nationals to buy out the agriculture sector of this vastly agri dependent country.