Indian state says "NO!" to GM seeds (19/6/2006)

"Uttaranchal will not give permission for GM seeds": Chief Minister
Coalition for GM-Free India , PRESS RELEASE

Dehradun, June 19, 2006: In a meeting on June 18th 2006 with representatives of Coalition for GM-Free India including the President of Bhartiya Kissan Union [BKU] Chowdhary Mahinder Singh Tikait, the Chief Minister of Uttaranchal Mr Narain Dutt Tiwari assured that there would no permission given to GM seeds in Uttaranchal. This follows the call given by BKU and other members of Coalition for GM-Free India to make Uttaranchal a "GM-Free state".

Earlier in the day, Chowdhary Tikait and thousands of BKU members started marching towards Dehradun, the state capital from Haridwar, to secure their demand for a GM-Free state. The Chief Minister invited a delegation to a meeting on the issue later in the day.

Leading a delegation of the "Kissan Kumbh", Mr Tikait met the Chief Minister at Dehradun. Complimenting Mr Tiwari for his 'vision' to declare Uttaranchal as an organic state, Mr Tikait said that the organic status can only be preserved if genetically modified crops and foods are not allowed in the hilly state. "We are glad that the Chief Minister has seen through the design of the GM industry, which is keen to contaminate the environment and is not at all concerned about the grave risks that such crops and foods pose to human and animal health."

The Chief Minister was appraised about the likely introduction of Bt Brinjal through large scale trials and the serious health and environmental concerns it poses for the country. The Chief Minister sought more information on all such crops from the delegation.

The annual convention "Kissan Kumbh" of Bhartiya Kissan Union which ended at Haridwar on June 18th 2006 resolved that India does not need GM crops. 30,000 farmers have congregated for the 3-day Kissan Kumbh from the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal.

Farmers attending the convention decided that they will send their protests to the Prime Minister through the district administration on July 10. There would be a massive education campaign launched with farmers in all villages about the various hazards of GM crops including Bt Brinjal, it was decided.

Meanwhile, members of the Coalition for GM-Free India are following up with the health and environment ministry on the assurances provided by the Ministers on the concerns raised.

For more information, contact:
1.Yudhvir Singh, BKU: 098-681-46405
2.Dharmendar Malik, BKU: 092-196-91168
3.Devinder Sharma, Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security: 098-113-01857 4.Kavitha Kuruganti, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture: 093-930-01550


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