Indian government refuses to divulge details of GM field trials (23/4/2007)

Centre refuses to divulge details of GM field trials
Nitin Sethi
The Times of India, 23 April 2007

NEW DELHI: In an era of transparency, the government has been less than candid on issues of public health. It has, despite an SC [Supreme Court] order, avoided explicitly mentioning the "implications and biological results" of field trials of genetically modified crops. In fact, it has questioned the competence of the court to decide matters of 'science and technology'.

The ministry of environment, in its affidavit filed as a reply to the SC order, has divulged the complete list of 144 applications it has approved for testing since 2006, including ones of crops meant for human consumption like okra, rice, cauliflower, groundnut, tomato and potato.

The admission that trials for food crops were cleared and the government, despite the court order, did not explain the impacts of such trials has the green brigade up in arms.

Ironically, the government, instead of explaining the possible public health and environmental impacts of such trials, has merely detailed the process it is following and the trials it is using for testing these food crops, the very process under review in the court.

"When the court asked for implications and biological results of the tests of GM crops, the government could have explained the possible biological and environmental impacts of such trials and their results and not just a list of what is being tested and how," said Aruna Rodriguez, one of the petitioners.


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