Stop all GMO field trials immediately
"STOP ALL FIELD TRIALS OF GMOs IMMEDIATELY": CIVIL SOCIETY
Press Release, May 11 2011
New Delhi: Representatives of five organizations and networks made a strong presentation to the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) in its 109th meeting here today demanding that all field trials of GMOs in the country be suspended immediately, given the intrinsic uncontrollable nature of GM technology in addition to the amply-demonstrated incapability of our regulatory system to address issues of biosafety and beyond when it comes to GMOs.
Sridhar Radhakrishnan, Convenor, Coalition for a GM-Free India; Dr Ramanjaneyulu, Executive Director of Centre for Sustainable Agriculture; Aruna Rodrigues, SC PIL lead petitioner; Rajesh Krishnan, Manager, Sustainable Agriculture Campaign, Greenpeace India and Kavitha Kuruganti, Convenor, Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) made presentations on various issues pertaining to regulation of GMOs in India.
They touched upon the Bt cotton experience in the country over the past ten years, Bt brinjal risk assessment and issues therewith, open air deliberate releases of GMOs in the form of field trials and concerns therewith and countering industry's lobbying effort around "delays in product development and commercialization".
GEAC assured the civil society representatives that the issues raised would be discussed in detail in one of the subsequent meetings and that these would be addressed as appropriate.
Civil society was prompted to make these presentations to the GEAC in response to some of the latest developments on the Bt brinjal front and some proposals made by the industry associations in January 2011.
In today's GEAC meeting, groups showcased repeated regulatory failures, incapability, apathy and lack of independence of the regulators as reflected in the case of GM cotton, Bt brinjal and field trials of nearly 14 crops in India, and made the following immediate demands:
*Industry proposals for faster-track approvals of GMOs in our food and farming to be rejected in toto; GEAC not to entertain such proposals since it is not a clearing house for GMOs but has been created to protect our environment, Nature and health.
*A comprehensive, participatory review of GM cotton experience in this country to be taken up before proceeding any further with GMO approvals in this country, to glean lessons collectively as a nation and to revamp the regulatory regime.
*In the case of Bt brinjal, given the evidence from independent analyses of the problems with various tests that have been done as part of the biosafety dossier, it is time to reject the Bt brinjal dossier; any further assessment on the subject should begin with a need assessment and like mentioned above, should be governed by policy directives in place. Any further assessments should be independent without drawing in the same set of people representing conflicting interests time and again.
*Given the fact that field trials are right now riddled with numerous problems which are amply demonstrated by regular violations and malpractices, all field trials to be immediately suspended until all fundamental issues with regard to GMOs and such open air field trials are resolved.
For more information, contact:
Sridhar Radhakrishnan: 09995358205
Dr Ramanjaneyulu: 09000699602
Kavitha Kuruganti: 09393001550
Aruna Rodrigues: 09826396033
Rajesh Krishnan: 09845650032