Urgent - take action - ban field trials in India (12/1/2006)

Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2006

From: Kavitha Kuruganti <[email protected]>

Subject: URGENT: GEAC meets on 13th Jan.: gross irregularities in GM field trials-fax/email axn requested

dear friends,

The GEAC is meeting tomorrow in delhi. the companies would begin walking up for approvals for various GM crops from this meeting onwards. We have put out two days back evidence from our investigations on Monsanto's Bollgard II Bt cotton being licensed to several companies like Mahyco, Rasi, Ajeet, Tulasi, Krishidhan and from Nath Seeds' Fusion Bt Cotton trials to the media and to friends like you. we are demanding that all field trials of all crops be declared invalid immediately for the year and a moratorium put in place.

To put the pressure up on GEAC, we request you to please get involved in, and initiate a fax action to important players.

please find attached below a letter that could be sent to GEAC and others. Please put the letter on your organisation's letterhead and kindly fax it immediately to the Chairperson of GEAC at the following fax number: 011-24363967.

Also send it to Dr Desh Deepak Verma, who acts as the Co-Chair in the absence of a chairperson at 011-24361613 and email to [email protected] . Please send a copy to Dr Ranjini Warrier, Member-Secretary, GEAC at 011-24363964 and email to [email protected] or [email protected]

In addition, pls fax the same letter to Dr M K Bhan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology at 011-24362884, and email to [email protected] or [email protected] since there are many irregularities with trials permitted by the DBT [limited field trials].

You also need to mark a copy to:

1. Sharad Pawar, Minister for Agriculture at 011-24361727/24363958 and email to [email protected]

2. A Raja, Minister for Environment & Forests at 011-24362222 and email to
[email protected]

3. Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, Minister for health and family welfare at 011-23061647/23061751 and email to
[email protected]

The emails can all be clubbed into one mail of course with the mail sent to Ranjini Warrier, and copies marked to others, but pls make the effort of sending separate faxes to all these important players.

I also request those of you who have not seen the report and evidence that we brought out, to pls write to me and we would be able to send the report in english, telugu and in hindi [provided you have the hindi fonts].

kavitha kuruganti
centre for sustainable agriculture

The Chairperson
Genetic Engineering Approval Committee [GEAC]
Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI
Paryavaran Bhawan, CGO Complex,
Lodhi Road
New Delhi.
12th January 2005
Sub: Demand to cancel all field trials of GM crops in the country

Dear Sir/Madam,

You would have seen by now the alarming fresh evidence of biosafety violations and unscientificity in GM crop trials that has been brought out by the Monitoring & Evaluation Committee [MEC] set up by civil society groups in the country, where they have taken the case of Bollgard II and Fusion Bt Cotton as the case studies for illustration. The report brought out by the MEC, based on investigations of field trials from five states of the country, reiterates the evidence presented from earlier suchinvestigations, including some recent evidence from food crops like Bt Okra. It is appalling that the companies are flouting all norms of scientificity and biosafety in such trials and putting the very lives and livelihoods of farmers and consumers at risk. It is even more appalling that regulators like you are watching as bystanders.

The findings of the MEC point out that all the companies involved in GM trials are blatantly flouting the guidelines and norms of the Environment Protection Act, which incidentally carries penal clauses of upto one lakh rupees fine and five years’ imprisonment. These irregularities also constitute violations of the principles of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to which India is a signatory. Your monitoring is extremely weak or even absent. Your failure to regulate is also resulting in the companies already indulging in an advertising blitzkrieg about untested and unapproved products and entrapping uneducated and uninformed farmers. This only leads to the proliferation of illegal GM crops.

Untested and potentially hazardous GM products from these trials in more than 1600 locations have already contaminated the environment and the food/feed chain of the country and this is completely unacceptable. The fact that the trials are conducted in an unscientific manner, mostly in a manner that suits the convenience and interests of the companies, also is a precursor for the disastrous results found on the ground today with regard to Bt Cotton.

In the light of these clear findings, we demand:

- that the GEAC and RCGM cancel all limited and large scale field trials of 2005 and suspend any more permissions. A moratorium be put into place with immediate effect on such trials.

- that a full-blown investigation be carried out on all violations and irregularities in all trials including past trials and food crop trials, by including members of civil society in the investigation teams.

- that liability be fixed for violations witnessed so far. This should include liability on the regulators as well as the companies

- that in all those cases where there are standing crops left for this season, that the GEAC and DBT ensure that the crop is destroyed immediately and farmers compensated by the companies

- that the GEAC and DBT ensure that farmers are compensated properly by the companies also in all those cases where the field trials have created economic and environmental losses for the participating farmers


CC: Dr M K Bhan, Secretary, DBT
Shri A Raja, Hon'ble Minister for Environment & Forests, GoI
Shri Sharad Pawar, Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture, GoI
Shri Anbumani Ramadoss, Hon’ble Minister for Health, GoI

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