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GM case hearing Today: Read how PMO is trying to push
A 2-judge Bench in the Supreme Court has been listening to arguments in the GMOs PIL since yesterday, on field trials, on the TEC (Technical Expert Committee) recommendations. Today’s hearing is crucial.

The Government and proponents have been pushing GMOs giving arguments like:

– they are needed for the country’s food security (THE FORMER MOEF HERSELF HAS WRITTEN A STRONG LETTER TO THE PM CONTESTING THE FOOD SECURITY ARGUMENTS – text of this letter attached);

– the nation’s scientists will feel demoralised if we ban GM since we have made so much investments so far (LET THE FARMERS WHO ARE DEMORALISED AND ARE COMMITTING SUICIDES WITH THE RISKINESS OF BT COTTON BE DAMNED??),

– that nothing adverse has happened in our regulation since 2007 from the time SC gave a go-ahead for field trials (ignoring that the Ministry of Agriculture’s own Sopory Committee report pointed out that contamination has happened between Bikaneri Bt cotton and Monsanto’s Bt cotton inside an agriculture university – http://www.icar.org.in/en/node/5511; ignoring evidence brought out of violations in field trials in Jharkhand and other places; I ATTACH HERE SIX SOLID INSTANCES WHEN OUR REGULATORS HAVE FAILED GROSSLY; THE FACT THAT THERE IS SO MUCH ILLEGAL HERBICIDE TOLERANT COTTON ALL AROUND US IS PROOF ENOUGH.

– that we can’t learn better regulation from countries like Norway since only 2% of their population depends on agriculture – AS THOUGH LEARNING FROM THE USA IS OK, WHERE LESS THAN 2% OF POPULATION DEPENDS ON AGRICULTURE!!!;

– that Dr Paroda is very good with his views, ignoring how this man’s organisation receives funding from Mahyco and others;  and ignoring that the point in question is biosafety and five other independent, “un-conflicted” experts in the field of biosafety are having a unanimous view on what should be done now when they have in their majority TEC report etc).

NOW, CHECK OUT THE ATTACHED, WHICH NITIN SETHI OF BUSINESS STANDARD PUT OUT LATE LAST NIGHT IN A TWEET. THIS IS AN INTERNAL MOEF DOCUMENT WHERE JAYANTHI NATARAJAN AND HER MINISTRY ARE STRONGLY OBJECTING TO THE OTHER ARMS OF THE GOVERNMENT PUSHING PARTICULAR VIEWS ON GM AND PASSING IT OFF AS THE GOVERNMENT’S VIEWS. They are very clearly saying that these are not their views. And we know what happened to Jayanthi Natarajan ten days after these views were penned down.  (Read MOEF letter to PMO)

“Despite my insistence that MoEF should file a separate affidavit……The elaborate comments on both reports – the 5 member TEC and Dr Paroda’s dissent note and the views of Government of INdia contained from pages 6 to page 33, are not reflective of my views or that of MoEF. These are the views of MoA. It is not known on what basis these views have been taken and whether the views of environmental scientists have been recorded with agricultural scientists. These submissions require modification and may perhaps be deleted due to time constraint in sorting out the differences”, Jayanthi Natarajan says, amongst other things. While the final affidavit may or may not be the same as the draft that she is referring to, some of us who got to see the final affidavit of the UoI submitted in the Court can see what she is objecting to.  (JN ltr to PM)

The GM issue has JN ltr to PM always been bewildering in terms of the pressure that comes from the top-most post, the Prime Minister, ignoring all evidence that is pointing to caution. That it is a dangerous, costly distraction from real answers elsewhere. That we should just take those to our farmers.

Who is he trying to please (coalition partners, industry, America….)? On What basis does he have such views in favour of GM that they will not first sort out fundamental issues that are being raised by various credible agencies??

We wait to hear what the Bench has to say, with fingers crossed.

Courtesy: Kavitha Kuruganti, Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture

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