Genetically Modified Crops Being Dangerous: Debate Continues

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The Government is in dilemma with the recent statement given by the Chief Justice of India on genetically modified crops being dangerous to bio diversity. Justice Dattu made it clear that once genetically modified crops are released, those cannot be recalled and that genetically modified crops are dangerous in nature. Justice Dattu made this statement while addressing a Conference over Global Environment Issues’, on Saturday. Justice dattu also stated that the judiciary is striving hard to maintain a balance between development and biodiversity and that development should not be at the cost of bringing irreversible and irreparable changes to the environment.

While there is a long pending public interest litigation over the use of genetically modified crops, the future of it still remains in lurch. The matter on whether genetically modified crops should be  introduced is pending since 2005 after a public interest litigation was filed by group of non-governmental organisations which demanded relief in terms of in-definite moratorium on biotech crops until new regulations for plant biotechnology are established.

Last year a committee appointed by Supreme Court named Genetic Engineering Approval Committee had submitted its report to Supreme Court, where-after an indefinite moratorium is declared in the field trial of genetically modified crops till the Government brings appropriate changes in the legislation relating to genetically modified crops.

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There were reports that UPA led Congress Government had given nod to field trials of thirteen genetically modified crops after bringing in the necessary changes suggested by Genetic Engineering Approval Committee. On contrary the BJP Government has decided to keep the decision made by the UPA led congress government in abeyance.

However making its stand clear, the Environment ministry stated that there is no ban on field trial of GM crops if the statutory committee and State Government approves to it. The statement of the Environment ministry is in tune with the BJP government election agenda wherein it had promised that they would not allow genetically modified crops in market without full scientific evaluation of its long term impact on soil, environment and consumers.

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by Vibhuti Nakta.