Nitish attacks Centre on seeds bills, GM crops

Patna: Observing that the proposed seeds bill and the Centre`s "favourable stand" on genetically modified crops is detrimental to the agriculture sector, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today vowed to oppose such moves if the government went ahead with its anti-farmer policies.

There should be threadbare and open-ended discussion on the seeds bill and the GM crops, keeping in view the long-term prospect of the farm sector and the interests of the farmers, Kumar said here.

He was addressing a function on the occasion of the former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar`s birth anniversary here.

The chief minister said the views of the state government`s should also be taken into account before formulating policies on the twin issues.

Kumar described the proposed seeds bill as a serious issue and apprehended that the farmers will become heavily dependent on the multinational companies for availability of seeds if the bill in the present form was to be passed by Parliament.

Similarly, the GM crops posed danger for human health having adverse impact on the environment and bio-diversity, Kumar said and claimed that these issues have not been addressed by the government as well as the scientists.

Kumar said he was concerned with the twin issues looming before the agriculture sector and has written to his counterparts in other states for their support to his crusade against the Centre`s proposed agricultural policies.

He was concerned because agriculture happens to be a key component of the state economy with as much as 71 per cent people dependent on the sector for sustenance, Kumar said.