Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lok Satta welcomes SC verdict on GM crop trials

Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today whole-heartedly welcomed Supreme Court refusal to impose an interim ban on field trials of genetically modified crops and reconstitution of the Technical Experts Committee with the inclusion of an agricultural expert.

It may be recalled that the Lok Satta Party had impleaded itself in the writ petition filed by some in the Supreme Court against conduct of GM crop trials.

In its petition, the Lok Satta Party strongly argued that GM crops are essential for ensuring food and nutritional security in a developing country like India with ever growing population.

The Technical Expert Committee constituted by the Supreme Court in its interim report dated October 7, 2012 had recommended imposition of a 10-year moratorium on field trials of GM crops.

In its petition, the Lok Satta Party argued that the interim report had not considered the advantages of GM technology.

It pointed out that in the whole debate on transgenic technologies, there is a confusion of two separate issues – technology and propensity of companies to perpetuate monopolies. Technologies need to be welcomed and adopted to suit the needs of the country, subject to certain precautions and there is every need to protect the farmers from monopolistic tendencies of technology leaders. The committee was more apprehensive of the monopolies and business practices of parent companies, which are seen to be exploiting the farmers of India.

Denying the country vital and proven technologies because of monopolistic tendencies will be tantamount to throwing the baby with the bath water, the Lok Satta said.

Dr. JP recalled that he had in the past fought against monopolistic tendencies of a multi – national company, Monsanto, by filing a writ petition in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh in 2006 seeking reduction in the price of BT cotton seeds marketed by it. Taking a cue from the petition, the Andhra Pradesh Government lodged a complaint before the MRTP Commission which passed an order reducing the price of Bt cotton seeds.

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