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Govt bans sale of Bt cotton seeds temporarily

DH News Service

Bowing to protests by farmers, the sale of Bt cotton seeds has been banned in the State temporarily.

Agriculture Minister Koujalgi today issued the order at a massive rally of farmers organised in the City by the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha demanding the ouster of American-based Monsanto Research Centre from the Indian Institute of Science premises.

Mr Koujalgi said that the government would convene a meeting of researchers, farmers and others concerned in a few days to build consensus on the issue. Following the assurance by the minister, the protesters dispersed.

Earlier, hundreds of Raitha Sangha activists who took out a rally from City Railway Station were stopped on the Platform Road near Jakkarayanakere by the police. Police had clamped prohibitory orders around one km of IISc. Heavy security arrangements were made to prevent any untoward incident.

KRRS President Prof M D Nanjundaswamy alleged that Monsanto’s activities would destroy the genetical uniqueness of the crops in the country. He termed the fight against multi-national seed companies as “second phase of freedom struggle” and added, “they should be chased out of the country to protect the biodiversity and health of the people and farm animals.”
KRRS protests against Monsanto crops


BANGALORE: Members of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS), led by its president M.D. Nanjundaswamy, on Friday held a protest meeting in the city against the use of genetic engineering by MNC Monsanto for various crops in the state.

KRRS representatives met Agriculture Minister V.S. Koujalgi and company's Director of Research and Development (R&D) T.M. Manjunath and expressed their apprehension over the threat of gradual elimination of the flora and fauna by genetic engineering.

Monsanto, however, clarified that the trials for BT cotton in India was approved by the Centre and had undergone the bio-safety trials for the last five years. ``Besides the scientific committee set up by the Union government which examined, the data gathered has supported commercialisation,'' Monsanto representative Manjunath said.

KRRS activists told Manjunath that Koujalgi had promised to convene a meeting next week. ``We in the company are willing to explain the technology and its global performance to the state government and to farmers,'' Manjunath said.