by Bosky Khanna

While the central government and environment minister Jairam Ramesh are mulling over the idea of promoting genetically modified (GM) crops, farmers in the state are strongly opposing it.

“We will not allow GM crops to be grown or even tested in the state. Land for such tests will not be given on lease, even though the soil and climatic conditions are ideal. GM cultivation will not only hamper the crops, but also affect the health of citizens. Thus, crops that are being grown traditionally over the years through traditional modification are ideal,” said Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Green Brigade president Kodihalli Chandrashekar.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of organisations that are fighting against GM crops, on Sunday. The meeting was organised to create awareness about the hazards of GM crop cultivation, during which, members from various NGOs and nutritionists expressed their views.

Chandrashekar pointed out that scientists have showcased the effects of GM crop cultivation. A letter from the state government has also been sent to the Centre, stating that, until proper scientific measures are taken, all tests should be restricted to laboratories.

“We will not allow GM crops to be cultivated or sold here. If it happens, we will agitate,” he said. He added that the GM and BT crops were being promoted for the sole interest of a few companies, without considering the welfare of the farmers.

The farmers also agitated against the import of corn for making popcorns, as the corn that is being grown in the state is of high quality. They pointed out that this was the act of some industrialists who are favoured by the government.

The government should first consider the needs of the farmers before exporting the crops, as this escalates the cost of items and therefore leads to losses for farmers, as sales go down, they

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