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Probe sowing of banned GM seeds by farmers in Akola, Centre tells Maharashtra

Farmers and supporters of Shetkari Sanghatana in Akola earlier this week.

Farmers and supporters of Shetkari Sanghatana in Akola earlier this week.   | Photo Credit: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

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The Union government has sought an action taken report from the State over the incident of illegal sowing of unauthorised Herbicide Tolerant (HT) Bt cotton at Maharashtra’s Akoli Jahangir village in Akola district.

Hundreds of farmers under the leadership of Shetkari Sanghatana had on Monday joined in what they termed as the ‘civil disobedience’ movement to protest central government’s indecisiveness in approving the next generation of Genetically Modified (GM) cotton by sowing the seeds of the illegal HTBt cotton.

Richa Sharma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change has written to Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta to order an investigation and verify facts on ground. “I request you to immediately order an investigation and verify the facts on ground and also conduct gene/event specific testing for suspected illegal cultivation of Genetically Modified (GM) crops. Appropriate action may be taken to stop any illegal GM cultivation in accordance with the Rules for the Manufacture, Use/Import/Export and Storage of Hazardous Micro Organisms/ Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells (1989),” said the letter. It asked to submit an action taken report to the ministry at the earliest.

The letter was sent as a response to the complaint made by Rajesh Krishnan on behalf of Coalition of GM-free India. “We had filed the complaint even before the actual sowing of seed took place. We had alerted the government to stop this, but they did not. Hopefully action will be taken now,” he told The Hindu.

Meanwhile, another action of deliberate planting of unauthorised HTBt Cotton seeds was undertaken by the Shetakri Sanghatana on Thursday in Ahmednagar’s Shrigonda district.

Mahadev Khamkar, a farmer claimed he is ready to undergo imprisonment if need be, but would no longer slyly plant the HTBt Cotton seed.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 1:59:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/probe-sowing-of-banned-gm-seeds-by-farmers-in-akola-centre-tells-maharashtra/article27903097.ece

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