GM crops: Panel member says his consent not taken

Calls for field trials to continue.

Written by Ravish Tiwari | New Delhi | Published: August 27, 2013 1:30 am

A member of the Supreme Court appointed Technical Expert Committee (TEC) on GM crops has told the apex court that the five other members on the panel had submitted a report without his “knowledge or consent”. R S Paroda,the representative for the agriculture and plant genetic resources discipline,has charged them of being on a “fault finding mission”,pushing a “one sided view” guided by “an ideological stance” against GM crops. He has,therefore,recommended field trials to continue.

The other members,in their report submitted to the court in June,had suggested indefinite ban on field trials of GM crops.

Paroda has made this charge in a separate confidential report submitted to the apex court. It was on last Friday that the Supreme Court had directed that his report be shared with all the parties in the case on GM crops.

“The TEC members seemed to take an ideological stance favouring an anti-GM as well as an anti-transnational approach and possibly believed that imposing moratorium on filed trials of GM crops was the only way to move forward,” Paroda has said adding,“All deliberations of TEC sounded to me like a fault finding mission.”

Accusing TEC of deliberating with “considerable lack of transparency”,Paroda told the court that “the whole process of deliberations and the preparation of report was neither transparent nor objective”.

In a set of “key recommendations”,Paroda has described the moratorium against field trials of GM crops as recommended by other members as a “retrogressive step” against the interests of agriculture.

While Paroda has said it was “not advisable” to set up a single institution for all “biosafety tests” and favoured a network of accredited laboratories of international standards,he has advocated the need to establish an independent regulatory authority on the line of US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to monitor concerns regarding human health. In this context,he has favoured the proposed Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI). The BRAI Bill is currently pending in Parliament and is being scrutinised by a standing committee of Parliament.

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