Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thank you all for Warm Diwali Greetings

Today is " World Food Day". Lets strengthen forces to make each day a "Safe Food Day".

Each one of us carry this torch of light and take the responsibility and strive to protect our food chain against the assault by GM proponents.
It is up to us to safeguard our health and the future of our children.

Now the Good news is not all is lost. With mounting pressure on Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, we have some justice. In his words "Strong views have already been expressed on the Bt-Brinjal issue, both for and against. My objective is to arrive at careful , considered decision in the public and national interest. The decision will be made only after the consultations process is complete and all stakeholders are satisfied that they have been heard to their satisfaction.”

My gratitude to Mr Jairam Ramesh for being just and fair. But we have very little time but we cannot take this lying low. We need to garner your support asap to raise awareness platforms, as we have only two months left. Please lend your views to government as requested.

You may wonder why this crazed farmer is doing this, when i can sit pretty tight in my farm and enjoy the bountiful harvests. Well, one has no desire to live in a sick society where every third house has a cancer victim. Wake up and do you your bit please. This cause is not mine alone, it is ours.

Read below, released today. I have also attached the GEAC report which has been made public for scrutiny for you to give you opinion

In solidarity

Sangita Sharma

The government today said it will take a decision on the issue of commercial cultivation of controversial Bt brinjal only after holding a series of consultations with scientists, farmers, consumer groups and NGOs early next year.

The Environment Ministry has also sought public opinion in the matter till the end of the year.

Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said he proposes to have consultations with scientists, agricultural experts, farmers' organisation, consumer groups and NGOs in January and February.

"The decision will be made only after the consultation process is completed and all stakeholders are satisfied that they have been heard to their satisfaction," he said, a day after the government's biotech regulator gave nod for the commercialisation of the Genetically Modified vegetable whose suitability for human consumption has sparked a raging debate.

Except two, all the members of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), after going through the recommendations of two expert panels set up to access the data on the transgenic vegetable, had yesterday approved its environmental release.

Sources said P M Bhargava and Ramesh Soni, members of GEAC, disapproved of its release. However, the government has reserved its decision amid dissenting voices from various quarters including civil society groups, NGOs and food experts.

Bt brinjal is a transgenic vegetable which carries a gene called "Bt" from a bacterium which releases toxin to kill fruit and shoot borer insects.

However, GM food is claimed to be more pest-resistant and high-yielding.

If approved, Bt brinjal will be the first GM food in the country being developed by Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company, (Mahyco) a subsidiary of the US multinational Monsanto.

"The GEAC has given an independent decision in the matter. I will take a final call in the matter after the process of consultation is complete and all stakeholders are satisfied," Ramesh said.

The Environment Ministry has sought public opinion in the matter till the end of the year.

The NGOs and a section of experts have strongly condemned GEAC's decision alleging the approval for Bt brinjal was given without taking in account the scientists' opinion.

"The government should not clear any genetically modified food crop till the time we have strict provisions for labelling. Bt brinjal will be one of the few crops which are used for human consumption directly and not processed into bread," prominent NGO Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said.

"Clearance of such a crop requires the authorities to practise extreme caution. Currently, in India there is no labelling regime for GM foods which will give consumers a choice to make a decision whether they want to consume GM food or not.

"Till this time this is done, regulators should not clear edible GM crops," said Sunita Narain, Director of CSE.

She said labelling of GM foods requires "a strengthened laboratory and regulatory framework."

Condemning the approval of Bt brinjal by GEAC, Coalition for a GM-Free India said "it is a shame that regulators in this country have put the interests of corporations over the interests of ordinary citizens."

"We are yet to see the expert committee report. But prima facie, it appears that the committee has not responded to all the issues raised about the safety of Bt brinjal adequately.

"More importantly, it appears that no satisfactory answers have been yet preferred about the very need for this Bt brinjal when safer, sustainable and affordable alternatives exist," the members of the coalition said in a statement here.

" There is an opinion poll at about GM crops. So far more than 75% have voted against it. Let's all add our voices and hope for a positive outcome."

1 comment:

  1. THousands of farmers in Maharashtra and AP have committed suicide due to BT. Cotton.. GM food in the US has been the cause of cases of cancer..

    GM food is a type of imperialism by which rogue corporations try to gain control of the world's food, enslaving farmers,keeping consumers in a cloud of ignorance by misinforming them, and destroying the environment..
    It is important to build awareness about this issue..