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Thursday, August 04, 2011 8:23:29 PM (IST)  

Herbicide tolerant GM crops pose serious health threat: Greenpeace

New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) Introduction of herbicide tolerant genetically modified (GM) crops, which are at the field trial stage in India, can pose serious threat to health and environment, according to a report released by Greenpeace Thursday.

The report 'Herbicide Tolerance and GM crops -- Why the world should be ready to round up Glyphostate' was launched by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture's chairman Basudeb Acharia.

The report attempts to draw attention to the proposed Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India bill expected to be introduced this session. According to Greenpeace, the bill once enacted, is expected to allow easy approval of GM crops such as Bt brinjal as well as herbicide tolerant GM maize.

"Introduction of herbicide tolerant GM crops can lead to widespread and intensive usage of herbicide glyphostate which will pose serious threat to health," said the report collated on the basis of scientific studies by several academic institutions.

The report instead stresses the need for the government to curb the entry of GM crops and set up a Biosafety Protection Regime instead of instituting a new regulatory body to supervise the GM crops.

"There is a serious concern on the socioeconomic impacts of GM crops. One cannot label destructive farming as progressive science and force it down the throat of millions," said Acharia.

"On the one hand we have seen how these GM crops are leading to monopoly of the companies like Monsanto in the seed sector on the other hand such technologies like herbicide tolerant GM crops will destroy the rural livelihoods dependent on agriculture," he added.

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