1.Cotton grower killed in Maharashtra
2.Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission issues notice to Monsanto
EXTRACT: What is the message? That, if you want the government to act, resort to violence! That the government talks of the common man's welfare but plays into the hands of market forces at the drop of a hat to the detriment of the same common man who gives them political power.
The latest example is the government policy and proclamations vis-a-vis Bt. Cotton. (item 1)
1.The cotton conundrum seeks honest answers
RxPG, December 10 2006 http://www.rxpgnews.com/india/The-cotton-conundrum-seeks-honest-answers-_8000.shtml
The death of a cotton grower in police firing in Maharashtra's Yavatmal district is bound to bring to the boil the unresolved controversy of cotton pricing in India.
...the Wani market yard of the APMC went up in flames with irate farmers attacking the 'manipulative' graders and the police and burning down several vehicles and a portion of the APMC building. Police opened fire twice to control the rampaging mob causing death of a young farmer and injuring at least half a dozen others, including a girl standing at the door of her house quite some distance away. The government has announced cash compensation to the bereaved family and the injured farmers and suspension of a lower rung police official.
And it doesn't need an astrologer to predict announcement of a higher procurement price in a few days - may be in the next two days.
What is the message? That, if you want the government to act, resort to violence! That the government talks of common man's welfare but plays into the hands of the market forces at the drop of a hat to the detriment of the same common man who gives them political power.
The latest example is the government policy and proclamations vis-a-vis Bt. Cotton. As rural affairs editor P. Sainath of The Hindu has pointed out in his recent article, the government predicted a bumper cotton crop and proclaimed that it was the wonder that Monsanto's Bt. Cotton was working. The obvious objective was two-fold - to promote Bt. Cottonseed and effect a fall in cotton prices!
It turns out that the crop is barely half of what the government predicted. As cotton growing farmers continued to commit suicide, the Central Institute of Cotton Research - blamed it on spurious Bt. Cotton seeds.
Actually there were no spurious seeds as there could have been no takers for it since Monsanto had more than halved their prices.
Then the central agriculture ministry stoutly stood by its decision to promote Bt. Cottonseed and allow its commercial cultivation even as the agriculture commissioner of Maharashtra announced the results of a survey that said, in effect, that Bt. Cotton was uneconomical in rain-fed farming!
[for Sainath's article: http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7323 ]
2.MRTPC issues notice to Monsanto
ASHOK B SHARMA
Financial Express, December 9 2006
NEW DELHI, DEC 8: The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) has asked Monsanto, US seed multinational to respond within four weeks to the Andhra Pradesh government's contention that it was liable to pay compensation to the farmers for selling Bt cottonseeds at exorbitant prices.
In response, Monsanto said that its Indian subsidiary Mahyco - Monsanto Biotech (MMB) was responsible for operations in the country. Opposing Monsanto's contention, the state government had said the US company has been controlling stake in its sister concern and demanded refund of the excessive money paid by cotton growers on the company's Bt cotton seeds.
In reply Monsanto said the state government had no right to seek compensation from it, as it was not a direct consumer.
But MRTPC chairman Justice OP Dwivedi on Thursday did not accepted Monsanto's argument that it was not responsible for the situation and its name should be deleted as a party to the case.
Navadanya Trust, an NGO headed by Vandana Shiva, has filed an impleadment application seeking to be a party in the case along with the state government. According to Navdanya, "Monsanto was trying to 'bypass Indian laws' and establish a claim to trait values in Bt cotton seeds which was specifically excluded under the Patents Act, 1970. Since the Act excludes patents on seeds and plants, collection of royalty from years of seed production and trait embodied in the genetic material was illegal under Indian laws."