In the name of Bt cotton production, spurious act of developing Bt cotton
A misconduct in the name of developing Bt Cotton, by University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad came to the notice of Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR). In the last eight years, as the Bt cotton seed prices were increasing, agriculture researchers, knowledgeable people/ scientists, progressive farmers, seed developers were fighting to reduce the the seed prices and royalty. UAS Dharwad has designed a seed development program.
University proposed to develop Bt cotton hybrid seeds which could be a better alternative to Monsanto’s Bt cotton to help farmers from high costs of seed. The responsibility was given to Principal Scientist of Dharwad Agriculture University and former Director of Central Institute of Cotton Research Dr. BM Khadi. Dr. I.S. Kategeri and Dr. Anandakumar were also involved.
The plan was to develop a cotton variety by back-crossing Bikaneri Nerma female plant with NHH 44 Bt along with Central Institute for Cotton Research. When analysed, Mon-531 event was found.
Four crores’ expenditure: The variety developed by Dharwad University was sponsored by a Maharashtra Seed Development Corporation Mahavir (Mahabeej ?) at an expenditure of Rs.4 crores. Seed production was taken up in large scale in farmers’ fields. Monsanto expressed serious opposition to this and said this is a false research and dismissed UAS, Dharwad claims. It also threatened to take matter to court.
Joined hands with monsanto?: Apart from this there is also another serious allegation that appeared in this connection. All these three sceentists have joined hands with Monsanto and cooperated in delaying production in multiple locations. A CBI inquiry was demanded. Former secretary Basavaraj Hooratti discussed this in the assembly.
Box: In this connection, Agriculture Minister Umesh Katti informed Kannada Prabha that an inquiry committee under Chief Secretary has been appointed. Former secretary Basavaraja Hooratti mentioned in the Vidhana Parishath about the issue and state govt’s action was informed. He said that misconduct in university will not be tolerated. Similarly he opined that as state government inquiry is on, central government’s inquiry is not necessary.
Raghavendra Bhat, Kannada Prabha