South Against Genetic Engineering (SAGE) Convenor PV Satheesh today demanded National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) Chairman S Kannaiyan to step down from his post for allegeedly making statements against 'bio diversity' at a meeting in Chennai on January 18.
Demanding that the centre must recall him, if Mr Kannaiyan did not step down from his post, Mr Satheesh SAGE was ready for an open debate with the NBA Chairman on the issue of Geneti Engineering (GE) and food and nutritional security.
Urging the officialto uphold the sanctity of the position,he said the SAGE would start a national movement for the recall of Mr Kannaiyan.
Objectiing to the statement made by the NBA Chairman that 'Genetically modified crops were the only answer to increase the production and productivity and to solve malnutrition problem in the country', Mr Satheesh said there was no scientific proof and surevy reports supporting his comments'.
SAGE is a coalition of over 50 networks of farmers, scientists, academicians and civil society organisations, functioning in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharastra.
2.SOUTH AGAINST GENETIC ENGINEERING
PRESS RELEASE, January 23 2008
Dear Prof Kannaiyan
Sub: How can you do that?
Every citizen of this country who has concerns and commitment for the conservation of biodiversity, has received with shock and disbelief the statement you have made welcoming genetically engineered crops to save this country. To put it most mildly, it is extremely unfortunate that the chief of a national body meant to safeguard the biodiversity in the country should issue a statement such as the following:
'…genetically modified crops were the only answer to increase the production and productivity and to solve malnutrition problem in the country' as reported in several newspapers from Chennai.
Ostensibly you were participating in a National Seminar on Biodiversity, Bioresources and Biotechnology for Sustainable Livelihood of the Rural Community. It is strange that of the four aspects of the seminar viz., biodiversity, bioresources, biotechnology and sustainable livelihood you left out everything else and chose to become the messiah of biotechnology. Obviously your past as the champion of biotechnology [as VC of TNAU (Tamilnadu Agricultural University)] has refused to leave your soul.
Prof Kannaiyan, would you be willing to look at your job chart and see what your role as the Chairman, NBA is? The Biodiversity Law came into being to give effect to the principles of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The primary objective of it being CONSERVATION of biological diversity. The National Biodiversity Authority ought to uphold these CBD principles apart from its specifically stated functions in the Act & Rules. In any case may we remind you that the National Biodiversity Authority came into being to represent the wishes and aspirations of millions of your countrywomen and men who have safeguarded biodiversity on their farms, fields, forests, fishery and livestock for millennia. When they saw an explosion of invasion of corporate biopirates on their sacred lands they wanted a mechanism to save their hard conserved biodiversity.
Simultaneously globally there was an outcry about the fast diminishing biodiversity and the need for a global effort to safeguard this global heritage of mankind. The result was the Convention on Biological Diversity which was signed by all the countries except for a corporate-infested rogue state called United States of America for whom their corporate interests come before the interests of their people. Signing the CBD and not implementing its originally well-intended objectives is worse than not ratifying it at all.
I hope you have read the C B D thoroughly Prof Kanniayan. If you have failed or forgotten to read it, may I as a citizen of this country draw your attention to a relevant part of it?
Convention on Biological Diversity, Article 8(g)
'Article 8. In-situ Conservation
Each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate: ...
(g) Establish or maintain means to regulate, manage or control the risks associated with the use and release of living modified organisms resulting from biotechnology which are likely to have adverse environmental impacts that could affect the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking also into account the risks to human health;...'
It is a bit sad that it takes citizens like us to remind you that the very CBD that created the National Authority and your position, is being threatened by your statements that are inimical to both truth and science.
Section 36.4 (ii) of the Biological Diversity Act 2002 states that:
'The Central Government shall undertake measures to regulate, manage or control the risks associated with the use and release of living modified organisms resulting from biotechnology likely to have adverse impact on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and human health' .
As one of the key custodians of this law the Chairman of the National Biodiversity Authority you ought to be advising the Central Government on prevention of GMOs as a precautionary measure rather than risk the rich and mega-diverse biodiversity of India and with it the culture and livelihoods of millions of people. Simply put GE (genetic engineering) is antithetical to diversit
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