INDIA GREENS PARTY
Unchir-Dunktok, Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand, 15 May 2023: The India Greens Party (iGP) today supported those organisations who are of the view that the Government of India has no statutory powers to regulate farmers in their use of herbicides either under Insecticides Act or Environment Protection Act. This means the government is ready to criminalise ordinary distress-stricken farmers of the country with jail terms after taking an irresponsible and unscientific policy decision.
In a press statement issued here today at the national head office (NHO), the party pointed out that the Coalition for a GM-Free India has rightly thrown a challenge at the Government of India to show how it will prevent farmers from using herbicides on HT mustard crop that received approval in October 2022. In a letter sent to the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, the Coalition pointed out that the GoI has no statutory powers to regulate farmers in their use of herbicides either under Insecticides Act or Environment Protection Act.
The Coalition said the Government of India has disingenuously been arguing that Delhi University’s GM mustard which has used the bar-barnase-barstar technology in the name of pollination control, is not herbicide tolerant. It has also said, including in Supreme Court affidavits and the regulators’ approval letter to the crop developer that farmers will be penalised under the Insecticides Act 1968 and EPA 1986 if they use herbicide on GM mustard crop. “Usage of any formulation of herbicide is not permitted for cultivation in the farmer’s field under any situation…any such use in the farmer’s field without due approval from CIB & RC would attract appropriate legal action under Central Insecticides Act 1968 and Environment Protection Act 1986”, states the approval letter. This essentially means that the Government of India is ready to criminalise ordinary distress-stricken farmers of the country with jail terms after taking an irresponsible and unscientific policy decision.
The Coalition pointed out in a press release that the Union of India is lying yet again – it is not possible to prevent farmers from using the herbicide with a HT crop like GM mustard, since farmers are exempted from the purview of regulation under Insecticides Act 1968.
The party also agrees with the Coalition that the very inclusion of a condition about usage of herbicide in farmers’ fields is an admission that the GM mustard crop is indeed herbicide tolerant including in the hybrid version meant for cultivation by farmers. Several scientists have already issued statements about the herbicide tolerant nature of GM mustard. Meanwhile, the Government of India is continuing with a specious argument that since the crop developer did not intend to exploit the herbicide tolerance trait in the crop commercially, GM mustard is not herbicide tolerant! On the other hand, published papers by the crop developer team show their intention to develop HT crops.
-Issued by iGP Chief Spokesperson Suresh Nautiyal.
(India Greens Party is registered with the Election Commission of India under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. Registration Number: 56/476/2018-19/PPS-I, effective from 18/07/2019.)
National Head Office: GreenDham AnandiChait, IndraBalbhadra Parisar, Unchir-Dunktok, PO-Ghurdauri, Patty-Idwalsyun, Distt-Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand, INDIA. PIN-246194.