Agriculture World

Farmers Arrested For Sowing GM Cotton Seeds in Maharashtra

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

Maharashtra is the first state where at least 12 farmers from Akola district have been booked for allegedly sowing banned herbicide-tolerant Bt (HTBT) cotton seeds, according to the police.

The use of GM crops in the country is tightly regulated as per “Rules for the Manufacture/Use/Import/Export and Storage of Hazardous Microorganisms, Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells, 1989” under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, the evaluation of each application of GM crop is done on a case-to-case basis after a thorough examination of health, environment, food and feed safety assessment studies.

As part of a protest organized by Shetkari Sanghatna against the Union government’s ban on the use of genetically modified Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) cotton & brinjal seeds, farmers had allegedly planted the seeds in their farms in Adgaon and Akoli Jahangir villages.

Earlier on June 10, several hundred farmers had planted the GM cotton and brinjal seeds in east Maharashtra district. The Sanghatana has been opposing the ban on GM crops claiming that they gave higher yields at lower costs and also brought benefits to cultivators.

The complaints lodged by the Agriculture department, two FIRs were registered at Hiwarkhed and Akot police stations. Among those booked by police included Sanghatna spokesperson Lalit Bahale.

Hiwarkhed police station inspector Somnath Pawar said, “The farmers have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Environment Protection Act and the Seeds Act”.

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