ANDHRA PRADESH

Field trial draws flak

Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: A group of Greenpeace activists holding aloft placards of “Bayer, hands off our rice” on Monday stormed the multinational rice field trial in Chinnakanjarla village of Medak district.

They planted scarecrows and painted the words ‘Bio Hazard’, the universal warning on the field.

The ten activists of the global NGO were protesting against trials on a herbicide-resistant rice variety in the 1,440 sq. mt. field. They also distributed Telugu pamphlets to villagers explaining the hazards involved.

R. Jaikrishna, Greenpeace campaigner (sustainable agriculture) said genetically-modified (GM) rice was unsafe and the Bayer experiments would have a cascading effect, contaminating other non-GM rice grown nearby.

When the trials are over, it would require farmers to buy Bayer’s herbicide ‘Glufosinate’ a banned chemical that is shortly to be phased out in Europe, given its hazardous nature.

In a swift reaction, the company put out a release that it had the requisite permission for trails.

A spokesperson said the company was convinced that plant bio-technology was indispensable in supplementing classical plant breeding.