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Gadgil calls for ban on GM crops in W Ghats

 The Times of India, Pune, Aug 12 2014


Noted ecologist Madhav Gadgil has appealed for a ban on introduction of genetically-modified (GM) crops in the ecologically fragile Western Ghats and said that the successive committees of experts to review the situation in the region would have no impact unless action was taken on the ground.

 

 Speaking at a debate on GM crops organized on Monday by city-based non governmental organization (NGO) Vanarai, Gadgil said that there have been several examples when the introduction of GM plants had affected local biodiversity adversely .

 

“I would demand that no GM crops are introduced in the Western Ghats because there is a high risk of an adverse impact on the unique biodiversity of the region,“ he said.

 

 Gadgil said that vested corporate interests already had the upper hand in the debate. He also cited examples of researchers who were facing trouble to get funding for projects that explore the adverse impact of GM crops.

 

 On being asked to com ment on the Union government’s decision to tell state governments to undertake a ground-truthing exercise on the recommendations for the conservation of Western Ghats, Gadgil said that the setting up of so many committees was futile.

 

The ecologist, who was the head of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, added, “Committee after committee could be set up to

 

review the situation in the Western Ghats. You can also find experts who will say exactly what the government wants to hear. But unless action is actually taken on ground, it would have no impact in saving the biodiversity of the region.” “Until now no one has been able to point out a single fault in our panel’s report,” he said.

 

The controversy over whether or not the recent landslide in Malin was a manmade disaster persists, but Gadgil said that there is no doubt that human activities in the Western Ghats had triggered landslides in the past.

 

 

“I have ot personally visited Malin, but I have consulted with experts and it appears that it was not a natural disaster,” Gadgil said, adding that the use of excavators to create terraces for cultivation in the region had not been done properly.

 

 

He also pointed out that the proliferation of windmill farms in the region had been followed by an increase in landslides. “All of this has been mentioned in the report,” he added.