WINHSLOGO by Lord Rudi C. Loehwing
The Times of India reports that multinational biotechnology giant Monsanto attempted to covertly plant its genetically-modified (GM) corn with no government approval. Nitish Kumar, chief minister of Bihar, alerted India's environment minister who just a few days earlier had denied Monsanto permission to plant the crops at all.
Outraged when he discovered that Monsanto had secretly plotted with India's Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) and the Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR) to plant genetically-modified corn without official approval, Kumar had already written a letter to India's environment minister reinforcing his opposition to the GM corn. Shortly thereafter India's environment minister asked the GEAC to reverse its December approval and block Monsanto's GM corn plantings.
"This is absolutely shocking, coming as it does under the shadow of the review of Bt brinjal, the first (GM) food crop to be introduced in India. It is deceitful," said Suman Sahai of Gene Campaign, a grassroots organization working to protect local control over genetic resources and food sovereignty. "Permission has been given surreptitiously. This is not right. We strongly oppose it. The permission should be withdrawn for all States, not just Bihar."
Monsanto also violated the "isolation distance" requirements that restrict GM plantings within a certain distance from non-GM plantings to prevent further contamination. Previous incidents have revealed that GMOs can very easily contaminate non-GMOs and ruin the integrity of entire crop fields.