The Citizens of India oppose Genetically Modified Crops
The same companies which promoted pesticides and chemical agriculture are now frantically peddling G.M. technology to third world countries.
India put a moratorium on the release of Bt Brinjal and GMOs because this technology is risky. Our Government and our PM in particular are bowing to the pressure from the American Government and the bio-tech industry to introduce GM Food for the consumption of Indian population. Instead of promoting sustainable and ecological agricultural practices, our government continues to spend tax payers money on fertilizer subsidies etc which fill up the coffers of American companies like Monsanto.
GM foods are known to cause adverse health impacts like impaired immune system, damage to kidneys and liver, stunted growth and reproductive health impacts.
Bt Brinjal is unsafe and unfit for human consumption. Bt Brinjal contains anti-biotic resistant genes, which has serious public health implications.
No labelling, liability, redressal and remediation regimes exist- You would not even know you are eating GM Food! It is also not clear who will be held accountable, whether poor farmers and consumers will have to bear the brunt of the negative fallouts.
GM is an irreversible technology. Its absolutely impossible to withdraw a genetically modified crop from the eco system due to natural cross pollination processes which will corrupt and destroy natural and organic plants and organisms.
Please sign the letter to PM Manmohan Singh now to register your opposition.
Citizens of India oppose Genetically Modified Crops.
The resistance against GMOs is not just about NGOs or foreign support and that the concerns are valid, scientific and genuine and being raised in a democratic fashion by the citizens of this country, an open letter is being issued by some of us to the Prime Minister.
I urge you to endorse this letter and reiterate that the citizens of India oppose the use of genetic modification of crops
The letter is pasted below.
Dear Dr. Manmohan Singh,
I am a concerned citizen of this country. I also happen to be a conscious consumer. Further, I also am someone who wishes a sustainable future for all our small holder-farmers in the country. I was shocked to hear your statements blaming “NGOs, often funded from the United States and the Scandinavian countries, which are not fully appreciative of the development challenges that our country faces”, when asked in an interview about why your government put a moratorium on the release of Bt Brinjal.
I would like to say that you have got it wrong, Mr. Prime Minister. India put a moratorium on the release of Bt Brinjal because this technology is controversial world over, there is no consensus on its need and safety, state governments have opposed the release of Bt Brinjal, farmers’ organizations also rejected it and also importantly, individual citizens like me exercised our constitutional right and participated in a democratic process to express our views on the subject and demand for safe food, farms & environment in our country.
Mr. Prime Minster, we are dismayed that you have discounted the democratic process that led to the Bt Brinjal moratorium, and insulted our genuine concerns by saying that they are simply driven by foreign agencies. More importantly, the moratorium decision note by the Ministry of Environment has specified all the reasons including scientific arguments as to why Bt Brinjal should not be allowed for commercial release and we request you to kindly refer to it again.
What is more worrying is that you have said, “in due course of time, we must make use of genetic engineering technologies to increase the productivity of our agriculture” – you seem to have made up your mind on the subject when so many citizens are demanding for GMO-free food & farms and there is so much scientific evidence that raises concerns about bio-safety, health risks and productivity claims. This approach is neither scientific nor democratic. We are afraid that the reference to NGOs and foreign funding is only an excuse – what we see is a government saying that it will take its top-down decisions, however biased or unscientific and that any resistance or opposition would be knocked down on some pretext.
In fact, we are very concerned about the powerful foreign hand pushing GM crops in our country. Mr. Prime Minister:
1. Can you tell us why your government signed the Indo-US Knowledge Initiative in Agriculture to reshape India’s agricultural research and revamp its policies related to agriculture based on US-AID recommendations?
2. Can you tell us why you were fine with having Monsanto, Archer-Daniels Midland and Walmart on the Board of K.I.A. – do you believe that they are the ones who are “fully appreciative of the development challenges that our country faces” and deserve to be involved in decision-making about Indian agriculture?
3. Can you tell us why you have never expressed concern about the multi-billion-dollar international bio-tech industry that has not only rapidly gained control of our seed industry but also has swamped the farmers with misleading advertising and has built powerful well-funded lobbying groups who have regular access to your Ministers?
4. Can you share independent data that GM crops are fully safe for our health & environment in short & long term and show how my right to informed choice would be protected?
5. Can you please tell us how a corporation like Monsanto which does not hesitate to sue farmers or even state governments to protect its markets is a welcome foreign entity?
I write to you to register once again my resistance against GMOs in my food and our country’s agriculture for a variety of reasons, and assert that I am very much committed toour national sovereignty! Kindly appreciate the fact that the resistance is based on citizens engaging with the debate, being informed about global negative experiences and scientific evidence on GMOs and my need to uphold my rights against wrong decisions by the state.
I urge you to respect democratic and informed dissent in the country, and not seek to thrust down top-down biased and unscientific decisions on the citizens of the country. We are after all a democracy of the people, by the people and for the people!