Field trials of the Genetically Modified Crop Bt Brinjal.
A valuable letter received from Thanal is as followsDear Sri Chandrashekaran Nair,
You may be aware that the Central Government, specifically the GeneticEngineering Approval Committee (GEAC, under the Ministry of Environmentand Forest) is on the verge of approving the large scale seed production andfield trials of the Genetically Modified Crop Bt Brinjal.See link below.
This is for the first time in the country that a food crop is being given suchpermission. The results of the Bt Cotton approval three years ago and thedisaster it has wrecked is still a huge liability that the MoEF and the GEAC isneither able to contain nor do they actually acknowledge. All their proposedsafety mechanisms and regulatory systems completely failed to contain thecontamination and impact on the human and cattle health and environment.The permission is being on a highly inadequate procedure given that this isthe first time in the world that a Bt Brinjal is coming up for approval for largescale trials in the open environment. Many countries that haveexperimented have refrained from opeinng for safety reasons.So, this is the time when we need to point out that the GEAC (and theMoEF) need to adopt a precautionary approach and refrain from opening ourcountry to GM. Moreover, as peoiple working in the Organic Farming sector,or associated with the organic movement, the very release of GM willcompletely wipe out organic food and the purity of traditional seeds and thediversity which we for years have been protecting.We have sent our protest and we wish all of you can send in your protests.We have attached a letter, which we have sent. You are free to modify thesame, or send the same. Please address it to the following persons
Shri B S Parsheera, Chairperson,
Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC),
Ministry of Environment and Forests,
Paryavaran Bhawan, CGO Complex,
Lodhi Road, New Delhi.Fax No : 011-24363967
Also send copies to
Dr D D Verma, Vice Chairman,
GEAC at the sameaddress Fax : 011-24361613
Dr Ranjini Warrier, Member Secretary,
GEAC, same address Fax : 011-24363964
Please do send us a copy of your letter / or let us know whether you have sent the letter
warm regards usha
Please spread the letter and get as many to sign and send"
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Shri B S Parsheera, Chairperson,Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC),Ministry of Environment and Forests,Paryavaran Bhawan, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi.Fax No : 011-24363967Also send copies to Dr D D Verma, Vice Chairman, GEAC at the sameaddress Fax : 011-24361613Dr Ranjini Warrier, Member Secretary, GEAC, same address Fax : 011-24363964Please do send us a copy of your letter / or let us know whether you havesent the letterwarm regardsushaPlease spread the letter and get as many to sign and sendThe following section of this message contains a file attachmentprepared for transmission using the Internet MIME message format.If you are using Pegasus Mail, or any other MIME-compliant system,you should be able to save it or view it from within your mailer.If you cannot, please ask your system administrator for assistance. ---- File information ----------- File: Letter to GEAC-for list.doc Date: 1 Jun 2006, 15:40 Size: 29184 bytes. Type: Unknown
As PDF File http://www.geocities.com/janapaksham/Letter_to_GEAC-for_list.pdf
June 1, 2006
Shri B S Parsheera
Chairperson, Genetic Engineering Approval Committee [GEAC]
Ministry of Environment & Forests
Paryavaran Bhawan, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi
Fax NO: 011-24363967
Dear Shri Parsheera
Sub: Bt Brinjal Large Scale Field Trials – Consideration of application for permission by GEAC – reg.
We wish to draw your immediate attention on the Agenda Item No. 4.2 in the GEAC meeting dated 1/6/2006 on the matter of considering granting permission for seed production and Large Scale Trials of Bt Brinjal of 4 Mahyco hybrids.
In this regard, we wish to point out that GEAC has already grossly failed in its proclaimed objective of ensuring safety of the environment and public health, and is liable for all the bio-safety violations and irregularities that have been brought to your notice on the Bt-Cotton issue by various research institutions, civil society organizations and even State Governments. Your attention had also been called on the violations in a Bt Brinjal field trial in Andhra Pradesh. While turning a blind eye to such harsh realities, one wonders what motivates you to consider giving further permission to large scale field trials of any GM crop in the country.
In this context we wish to point out that you were clearly fore-warned about the futility of the regulatory and safety systems that you are following for clearing the GMO research and field trials and which you with impudence chose to ignore. This action has led to letting loose a biological disaster affecting farmers and workers lives, consumer safety, health and environment.
There are many studies on adverse health effects with many GM crops from all over the world. Some of these studies are so disturbing that countries have been forced to stall their research. The field trials of Bt Cotton in India has already led to the total contamination of the cotton chain, and we have found both the government and the companies either purposefully complacent or totally incompetent to contain and redress. This is an unprecedented situation. Given this situation we demand that GEAC take a precautionary approach in further research and release of Genetically Modified Organisms, especially in food crops and stall the release of Bt Brinjal seeds.
Even though Cotton is a non-edible crop, it has created health hazards for people at different levels of its production and processing. In these circumstances, what will be the impact of Bt Brinjal, a popular vegetable on the health of people who will be forced to consume it ?
No body including the manufacturers of GM crops has ever told that GMO’s are safe. In our country, both the scientific community and the farmers have done a lot of work on Brinjal to improve its productivity and control the pests, through IPM, NPM, Organic farming, Biodynamic Farming etc. The results are highly encouraging and these methods are inherently safe unlike the GMO’s. In this situation we do not understand why GEAC is in such a hurry to give permission to Bt Brinjal hybrids of Mahyco. We urge the GEAC that before giving permission they collect all information on all the research done on Brinjal, especially its agronomic performance as well as pest control and climate tolerant varieties and its field performance in the country and put it before the public for evaluation of these methods with Bt Brinjal.
There has never been a serious public debate initiated on the adequacy or even the need of biosafety measures and it has led to gross violations as seen in the case of Bt Cotton, and the whole blame now lies on the farmers. Given the condition that farmers in this country are mostly illiterate and they are not properly informed of the biosafety regulations, and the situation that they cannot be relied upon to implement such biosafety measures as prescribed by the seed companies and the GEAC, further release of genetically modified crops and seeds can lead to a total bio-disaster in Indian agriculture.
We understand that a Supreme Court case is also pending on the matter of introduction of GMOs and the Biosafety procedures etc and it is a legal impropriety on the part of the GEAC to display such hurry for approving GM food crops like vegetables, for reasons that they have not been able to justify at all.
For the above said reasons, we demand that the GEAC consider the seriousness of the issue and restrain itself from giving approval to the seed production and large scale field trials of Bt-Brinjal and other GM crops/organisms.
Thanking you in anticipation
Dr Desh Deepak Verma, Co-Chair, GEAC at 011-24361613
Dr Ranjani Warrier, Member-Secretary, GEAC at 011-24363964
Dr Devinder Sharma, Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security, New Delhi