Chennai: Green groups are up in arms against the reported MNC funding of research in genetically modified crops at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, fearing that the companies might exert pressure to release the seeds without proper bio-safety tests.
“With the state agriculture minister recently stating that decision on use of genetically modified (GM) seeds would depend upon the opinion of scientists, we apprehend pressure from funding agencies on researchers,” V Jeevanandan of Tamil Nadu Green Movement (TGM) told PTI.
Research in BT (Bacillus Thuringiensis) paddy, BT brinjal and BT cotton are going on in the university and the groups, including TGM, claim that these studies are funded by seed companies like Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech.
“We want research in our country independent of any support from multinational seed companies,” said M Balasubrahmanian of Agrarian Development Institute for Sustenance and Improved Livelihood.
Green groups, which have been for long asking the government to ban BT crops in the state, said that if the scientists “colluded” with the MNCs to release the seeds without proper tests, they “will take up a do-or-die struggle”.
A week-long state-wide protest calling for a ‘Tamil Nadu free of GM crops´ was held recently under the aegis of the groups. They have also decided to hold a demonstration in front of the University on 20 March.