EXTRACT: The complaint to the Magistrate was based on the Penalties clause [Section 15] of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, which prescribes a punishment of imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years...
FORMAL COMPLAINTS LODGED AGAINST M/s MAHYCO FOR VIOLATIONS IN GM RICE FIELD TRIAL IN CHATTISGARH
November 28, 2006: After investigations by activists and media in Chattisgarh revealed serious violations in the Environment Protection Act (EPA), the biosafety guidelines for GM-related research and of the conditional clearance for trials given to Mahyco in the case of a Bt Rice plot outside Raipur city, activists of Richharia Campaign lodged formal complaints against the company with the local police station and the District Magistrate of Raipur.
Meanwhile, it is also reported that the 2-member Inquiry Team set up by the Government of Chattisgarh to look into the GM rice trial by Mahyco has submitted its report to the government. It is not clear whether the team looked into the potential dangers created to the world's richest collection of rice germplasm close to Mahyco's Bt Rice plot, due to this open air trial. The Chattisgarh government had earlier promised to write to the Central government about its concerns about GM crop trials based on the findings of this investigation.
After listing out various violations in the case of this trial, the police complaint against the company by Jacob Nellithanam of Richharia Campaign pointed out violations falling under IPC clauses of public nuisance, negligent conduct related to hazardous material etc. The complaint to the Magistrate was based on the Penalties clause [Section 15] of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, which prescribes a punishment of imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years, with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees for failure to comply with the rules, orders or directions issued under the EPA.
After BKU lodged a similar complaint in the case of violations found in the GM Rice trial in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, this is the second time that such a complaint is being lodged against the company for its routine violations of guidelines and rules related to biosafety.
As is known, the government of Chattisgarh took serious objection to trials happening in the state without information to, or permission being sought from, the state government. The monitoring team that was advised to go to visit the plot by the
Department of Biotechnology in Government of India went to the plot at the end of the season only to find that the crop was in mid-harvest! Following reports about various irregularities in this trial, the state Agriculture Minister, Mr Nankiram Kanwar rushed to the trial location and ordered the destruction of the standing crop in the field.
This is the first time in the controversial GM history of the country that a state government ordered and ensured destruction of an open air trial. It is ironical that when farmers in Haryana [led by BKU] and Tamil Nadu [led by TNFA] destroyed GM Rice plots fearing contamination from the plots and for similar biosafety violations witnessed there, criminal charges were booked against them by the police based on the company's complaints.
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