The city saw scientists, farmers unions, civil society groups and activists joining hands to launch a public campaign against open field experiments of Genetically Modified (GM) crops which are to start soon in Punjab. The campaign was launched at a public meeting organised by the Punjab chapter of Coalition for a GM Free India. This was in response to the recent decision by the Central government to permit field trials of GM crops across the country. Punjab is one of the states where these trials have been proposed.
Speaking at the occasion Umendra Dutt, Executive Director, Kheti Virasat Mission said “ Punjab has become a hotbed for these trials with the Punjab Agricultural University fields being used repeatedly for such toxic crops… We suffer the impact of extensive usage of toxic agro chemicals from the Green Revolution era already and then, we expose our people and farms to another experiment.”
Giving the keynote address at the occassion activist-scientist Dr Vandana Siva expressed shock at the way voices of science and society had been disregarded by the Central govt while giving approvals for these trials.
A public petition drive was intiated as part of the campaign urging the Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal to not permit open field trials of GM crops. The participants took an oath to keep the farms, food and environment of Punjab free from these crops and to work towards the promotion of ecological farming.