Bhargava calls for 15-year moratorium on GM crops in India

May 14th, 2010 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, May 14 (IANS) Eminent scientist P.M. Bhargava Friday called for a moratorium of at least 15 years on genetically modified (GM) crops in the country.

“There should be a complete moratorium on genetically modified (GM) crops across the country for at least 15 years. During this period, the government should focus on strengthening facilities for conducting independent tests on GM crops,” he told reporters here.

“Only after extensive research should any GM product be considered as a commercial product in the country. Whenever a drug is to be launched, it requires 15 years of testing period. However, the drugs can still be recalled from the market. But the plants once released can’t be recalled,” he said.

Bhargava, an expert in genetic engineering and founder of the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, said more information on harmful effects of GM crops was being made available each year.

He was here to deliver a lecture.

“Bt Cotton was introduced in the country without any tests, so was Bt Brinjal. At least 30 tests are required to be conducted for GM crops before they were introduced. However, on Bt Cotton only 5 to 6 tests were conducted and those did not have any credibility because they were conducted by the companies,” he said.

“Our recent concern was that if Bt Brinjal was introduced, 20 more GM crops would have got the approval in India,” Bhargava added.

He appreciated Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh for not being part of the “nexus operative in the country to pave the way for bigger control of multinationals in the country”.

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