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GM crops issue: Congress tries to corner govt in Rajya Sabha

PTI August 08, 2014 16:35 IST
New Delhi: Government today asked members in Rajya Sabha to wait for the Supreme Court decision on GM crops as Congress tried to corner it on the issue during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha citing objections from RSS and BMS.

"The question is not about anybody's objection. This matter is currently with the Supreme Court and with the Ministry of Environment and Forest. We should certainly wait for that...The issue is in the SC, Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh said.

He was responding to a supplementary by Digvijay Singh (Cong) in which he talked about objections raised by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and BJP labour wing Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) against genetic seeds.

Replying to another supplementary, the minister said the report of the committee, which also has scientists as members, is coming soon.

The supplementaries sprang from a question whether the government has advised farmers in Vidarbha region to desist from sowing Bt Cotton due to deficient rainfall.

In his reply, the minister said that in view of the forecast for South West Monsoon, the Central Institute for Cotton Research, Nagpur, advised that dry seeding of varieties can be taken up from June 16 to 20 for non-Bt Cotton and that the sowing for Bt Cotton should be done only after receipt of about 75-100 per cent rainfall since it needs more moisture.

In his supplementary, Digvijay Singh said that the main reason behind farmers' suicide in Vidarbha is the Bt Cotton besides non-germination of seeds provided by many companies.

"BMS and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat have spoken about the genetic seed issue," he said, demanding a response from the government.

Another Congress member Vijaylaxmi Sadho said the productivity of land comes down to this kind of farming, which also soaks more water, while her colleague Anand Bhaskar Rapolu wanted to know whether government is in a position to have Indianised Bt Cotton seeds.

The minister said that delay in onset of monsoon initially resulted in slow area coverage under cotton in Vidarbha which, however, subsequently improved with increased rainfall in the region.

"It is expected that the production of cotton in Vidarbha region would be close to normal provided rains during the remaining Kharif season is normal and well-distributed," he said.