Promoters of Bt cotton in Punjab turn against GM / Uttaranchal will not allow GM crops (20/6/2006)

1.Farmers' Union to oppose GM crops in Punjab
2.Uttaranchal will not allow GM crops, says CM

1.Bhartiya Kisan [farmers] Union to oppose GM crops in Punjab
Amrita Chaudhry Express India, June 19 2006

Ludhiana, June 19: PROMOTERS of Bt cotton in Punjab, the Bhartiya Kisan Union, will now oppose the introduction of other Bt crops in the state.

This turnaround, according to Manjit Singh Kadian, general secretary, BKU, has come after "the Centre allowed the testing of Bt brinjal in the country. As we eat vegetables we cannot take the risk which involves our health".

Kadian, who recently attended the Kisan Mahakumbh organised by the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Tikait) group at Hardwar, said, "It has been decided at the national level that we will oppose the GM crops in India. But in a situation where not only the government but also scientists support this, we will have to launch a people's movement. We will begin by educating our farmers and consumers about the ill-effects of the GM crops just as it happened in Europe, when the consumers refused to buy GM crops from the market, the government had to order a ban on cultivation of GM crops."

When asked why the BKU did not appose Bt cotton in Punjab, the kisan leaders said, "The farmers of Punjab wanted Bt cotton and as such cotton is not eaten directly except in case of oil. But here we are talking about vegetables. Though the companies claim that cooked at high temperatures the poison in the Bt brinjal will be nullified, but when we cook at home we do not measure the temperature. Another fact is that there is no end to poison. See for ballworm, the company gave us Ballguard 1 and now when the pest is resistant to this, the company has launched Ballguard 2, which means that the intensity of poison is just increasing."

To drive home their point, the BKU has included banning the GM crops in Punjab in their charter of demands and they will present the same to the state government during its two-hour Rasta Roko on July 16. Further in the first week of August, the BKU will organise a seminar in the state where the farmers will be educated on the harmful effects of GM crops.

2.Uttaranchal will not allow GM crops, says CM
Financial Express, June 20, 2006

NEW DELHI, JUNE 19: Chief minister Narayan Dutt Tiwari has assured the leaders of Bharatiya Kissan Union (BKU) that he will not allow cultivation of any transgenic crop, with a view to protecting the image of the state as producers of organic food. The recently developed transgenic food crop, Bt Brinjal has hit a stumbling block before undergoing field trials in the hill state of Uttaranchal.

Mr Tiwari had earlier declared that Uttaranchal would be the producer of organic produces. Taking advantage of the chief minister's declaration, BKU held its annual convention in Haridwar and passed a resolution calling for a ban on cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops. BKU represents farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal.

"We concluded our three-day convention in Haridwar, and proceeded to state capital Dehradun to hand over our resolution and discuss with him. The chief minister assured us that he will not allow cultivation of any GM crop in the state and would maintain the image of the state as producer of organic produces," said the BKU president, Chowdhary Mahinder Singh Tikait.

Mr Taikait claimed that 30,000 farmers from five states gathered at the three-day convention. Leader of Shetkari Sangathan Vijay Jawandhia also joined the farmers' conclave. Mr Jawandhia said, "The adverse impact of chemical agriculture has come to the fore. We should also be careful about genetic contamination of other crops by cultivation of GM crops. There is no need for GM crops".

A group of NGOs under the banner of 'Coalition for GM-free India' also attended the farmers' conclave.

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