With little supporting data, say critics
March 2002: The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) under the Ministry of Environment cleared cultivation of GM cotton, patented by the U.S. seed giant Monsanto, in spite of demands by top international campaigners for better and more scientific testing. It is yet another sign of its readiness to ignore civil society at home and please transnational corporations and the West, critics say. Genetically modified crops have been banned in several countries because the technology involves splicing genes from different species for desirable characteristics with as yet unknown long-term consequences to the environment and to human health. Vandana Shiva, who heads the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Environment, said the tests conducted so far were "not adequate to establish the benefits nor fully assess the risks." Said Devinder Sharma of the Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security, "The GEAC approval can only be described as the biggest ever scientific fraud in this country...all scientific norms have been thrown to the winds." Suman Sahai, who leads Gene Campaign, pointed out that Monsanto's GM cotton was approved on the basis of valid field testing data for just one year and even that is yet to be made available to the public for scrutiny. Ranjit Devraj
March 2002 Ranjit Devraj is a correspondent with Inter Press Service, a global news resource faciliating south-south and south-north dialogue on important economic, social, environmental, and other issues. IPS is distributed in the U.S. by Global Information Network.