Manmohan blaming NGOs for Bt brinjal moratorium criticised

Special Correspondent

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The Hindu

The Coalition for a GM-Free India has expressed “outrage” at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement that foreign-funded NGOs were the reason for the moratorium on Bt brinjal.

“It is a clear attempt to undermine and disrespect the exercise of democratic rights by the citizens of this country regarding critical issues that concern one and all,” Sridhar Radhakrishnan, convenor of the coalition has said.

In a statement, Mr. Radhakrishnan said the issue was not one of NGOs or foreign funding; that was merely a ruse that the Prime Minister had seized upon to cover his and his government’s unwillingness to listen to the people.

The more troubling aspect of Dr. Singh’s stand was that he seemed to have made up his mind on pushing agricultural biotechnology and ignoring the genuine scientific concerns, with or without the consent of the people.

In the recent past, the same approach was apparent in the issues involving the Jaitapur and Kudankulam nuclear plants and FDI in retail.

In all these cases, transnational corporations, with enormous clout, stood to make tremendous profits, he said.

The Bt brinjal moratorium decision was taken by the then Minister for Environment and Forests, who clearly detailed the rationale to the nation, Mr. Radhakrishnan said.

According to him it was a deep irony that Dr. Singh was resurrecting the “foreign hand” ruse from the 1970s and the Emergency era – while being at the forefront of inviting foreign investment and allowing the U.S government and multinational companies to push policy changes.

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