1.Bt cotton allegedly causes cattle deaths in Andhra Pradesh - NDTV
2.GM trials only after settlement of Supreme Court case - PTI
GM WATCH comment: To understand just how sold out to corporate interests Indian government officials and regulators for biotech are, just look at the following claim by K K Tripathi, an Advisor to the Department of Biotechnology, that concern over GM crops amounts to "certain vested interests" driving away innocent farmers from utilising the technology to increase production.
EXTRACT: "We will also write to the commissioner, agriculture to give clear instructions not to sell Bt cotton seeds in the coming season," said Dr Laxmi Rajam, Additional Director, Animal Husbandry, Andhra Pradesh (item 1)
1.Bt cotton allegedly causes cattle deaths in AP
Uma Sudhir NDTV, March 26 2007
(Hyderabad): Genetically modified Bt cotton in the midst of yet another controversy. And this time it could be the beginning of a head on collision between the animal husbandry and agriculture ministry in Andhra Pradesh.
The animal husbandry department in Andhra Pradesh is going to ask the agriculture ministry to stop the sale of genetically modified Bt cottonseeds in the new season.
This follows reports from several districts that sheep, goat and even cattle grazing on leftover Bt cotton fields have taken ill and even died.
"We have given this message that not just goat and sheep, even cattle are also affected with this poison, so better not to graze. We will also write to the commissioner, agriculture to give clear instructions not to sell Bt cotton seeds in the coming season," said Dr Laxmi Rajam, Additional Director, Animal Husbandry, Andhra Pradesh.
Shepherds and goatherds from 12 districts protested in Hyderabad on Monday to demand immediate action on the unusual deaths that are now being reported for the third consecutive year.
"After grazing on non-Bt fields, there is no problem. Only after grazing on Bt leaves, sheep and goat are dying," said P Jamalaiah, Secretary, AP Shepherds and Goatherds Union.
"It is not just us who are saying that. Even the animal husbandry department and veterinary doctors have said that in their primary reports," he added.
The department had earlier this year issued an advisory to shepherds and goatherds to avoid Bt cotton fields but that did not reach people like Urimekala Kotaiah in Khammam who lost 10 of his 50 sheep just two weeks ago.
"The government is allowing the sale of these seeds, so only if they ban the seeds, this problem can be solved because our sheep necessarily graze in open fields," said U Kotaiah, Shepherd.
The agriculture department has initiated an independent study following the reports of animal mortality. However, it may not be easy at all for the government to stop the sale of Bt cottonseeds even if it decides to, as a precautionary measure.
2.GM trials only after settlement of case
Press Trust of India, March 27 2006 http://www.chennaionline.com/colnews/newsitem.asp?NEWSID=%7B5807742B-8A30-4E6E-83E0-B0959A956A9B%7D&CATEGORYNAME=Tamil+Nadu
Coimbatore, March 27 (PTI): Trials of genetically modified (GM) food or non-food crops would be carried out only after settlement of a case pending before Supreme Court, a senior official with Department of Biotechnology (DoB) said today.
Though the Department had decided to release GM brinjal, followed by cauliflower and cabbage, the apex court has stayed fresh trials by its order in October last year and the case would come up for next hearing on April 16, K K Tripathi, Advisor, DoB, told reporters here.
Almost all trials, including toxicity, have been carried out with the regard to brinjal and only environmental safety and agro-climatic condition trials have to be conducted.
The department would release GM crops, after carrying all the safety trials, he said.
Similarly, research and trials were going on in many food and non-food crops in "greenhouse", Tripathi said, adding that the department has carried out trials in rice and started in maize for weed and stem-borer resistance.
Tripathi, here to participate in a 'Consultation on Safety Assessment of GM Food Crops', said there was no cause for apprehension for farmers to adopt BT seeds, which in real terms, were beneficial income wise.
However, "certain vested interests" were driving away innocent farmers from utilising the technology to increase production, Tripathi said.