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Farmers will be re-launching pro-GM crop movement in Maharashtra: SBP

Farmers will be re-launching pro-GM crop movement in Maharashtra

Farmers will be re-launching the pro-GM crop movement in Maharashtra: SBP

Farmers from Maharashtra’s Shetkari Sanghatana are planning to violate the government’s prohibition on genetically modified (GM) crops once more. Thousands of farmers have been publicly planting and cultivating herbicide-tolerant Bt cotton and Bt brinjal since 2019. The pro-GM crop movement will be relaunched in Maharashtra on Thursday.

‘On January 17th, we wrote to the Prime Minister, requesting that the prohibition on GM crops be lifted by February 16th.’ There has been no contact, and no action has been taken. ‘We have no choice except to engage in civil disobedience,’ said Anil Ghanwat, President of the Swatantra Bharat Party (SBP), the political branch of Shetkari Sanghatana. He further stated that unlawful Bt brinjal planting will begin on Thursday from Shrigonda in the
Ahmednagar district.

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Why is there a GM ban?

Leaders of the Shetkari Sanghatana have demanded that the government reveal whether GM cotton has an impact on human health and the environment.

To date, only GM cotton has been approved for commercial cultivation in India by the Indian government. In December of last month, the Ministry of Environment informed the Rajya Sabha that ‘there have been no cases recorded on the influence on human health, the environment, or the disappearance of any butterflies in India.’

‘If that’s the case, why is the government discouraging farmers from using GM crops?’ Ghanwat wondered. Leaders of the Shetkari Sanghatana claim that, in addition to HT cotton, Bt brinjal and HT soya seeds are accessible on the illegal market. An estimated 25% of Maharashtra’s cotton farming is HT cotton, and there is a multi-billion-dollar industry for GM seeds. False GM seeds are also on the market, and farmers are being deceived by fraudulent firms, according to Shetkari Sanghatana officials.

Farmers are being targeted

Since the pro-GM crop campaign began in 2019, the Ministry of Environment has received complaints of unlawful GM cotton and brinjal growing in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Punjab. The Centre requested that all states form and enhance State Biotechnology Coordination Committees and District Level Committees to monitor cases of unlawful GM crop growing and take necessary action under the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986.

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Environmentalists, on the other hand, claim that the states have not taken harsh enough punishment against individuals who have broken the law and grown GM crops. The political parties have decided to remain silent on this subject, and the ruling Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party and Congress administration in Maharashtra has not replied to the Shetkari Sanghatana’s demand.