The Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) and Hasiru Sene have cautioned the government against permitting open-air field trials for genetically modified (GM) crops. The Supreme Court is yet to pronounce its final verdict on the issue in view of the difference of opinion among scientists.

Addressing presspersons here on Monday, K.S. Puttannaiah, farmers’ leader and Melkote MLA, alleged that in order to pave the way for entry of certain GM crops, the government had not included farmers’ representatives in the sub-committee, headed by Mahadevappa, set up to look into the advantages and disadvantages of allowing open-air field trials for certain GM crops in the State .

He also alleged that the committee comprised scientists who were supporting GM crops and biotechnologists as well as representatives of biotech companies. “Absence of farmers and consumer representatives in the committee shows the hidden intentions of the government,” he claimed.

Noting that the majority of developed countries across the globe had shunned this “so called gene revolution path” for agricultural development, Chukki Nanjundaswamy, working president of the KRRS, said that GM crops was fraught with imprecision and unpredictability. Mr. Puttannaih said that as many as 251 scientists had raised their concerns by writing a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently. “We are forwarding a copy of the letter to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Minister of State for Agriculture Krishna Byre Gowda and IT and BT Minister S.R. Patil to take a relook at the issue,” he said.

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