Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: A group of members of Parliament (MPs) from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena are reportedly going to the US on a week-long study tour on genetically modified (GM) technology. The tour is being funded by global seed giant, Monsanto and the MPs are expected to leave on Saturday.
The move comes three weeks after the BJP overruled field trials for 15 genetically modified crops, including of brinjal and rice.
On July 29, Environment & Forests Minister Prakash Javadekar had overruled the recommendations of the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) and put a halt to the field trials of 15 GM crops after protests from pro-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) bodies, Swadeshi Jagran Manch and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh.
While the event is from August 24 to 30, the group will first attend a `Farm Progress Show` in Iowa, then visit the Monsanto headquarters in St Louis, Missouri.
However, the US-based company has denied any link between the trip and the ruling party`s decision to put GM crop trials on hold. It said that The `Farm Progress Show` is a three-day event that has been held in Iowa since 1953 and attracts thousands of farmers and delegates every year.
Without revealing the number of MPs that would attend the event, Monsanto said it had invited around 18-20 MPs on the basis of thier interest in the use of technology in agriculture, according to a report in an English daily.
The trip will cost an estimated $6,000 (Rs 363,540) per head for travel, food and accommodation, which will be sponsored by the company.