GM Field trials in Maharashtra need to be stopped immediately

Open Statement

GM crops are one of the most controversial technologies in agriculture – there is growing scientific evidence on its adverse impacts on health, biodiversity, farm livelihoods etc. A glimpse of the early warnings from scientific studies related to adverse impacts of GMOs which require a precautionary principle to be adopted with this technology is available in a compilation that can be accessed from: www.indiagminfo.org/?p=657.

The technology involves the transfer of genes from one organism to the other, a process which is imprecise and consequences unpredictable. Added to this is also the corporate control of seeds, the most important input in agriculture, through this technology. All this along with the fact that it is a living technology the products of which (GMOs) once out in the environment are uncontrollable and irreversible, has made it a risky technology opposed across the world and shunned by majority of countries.

Field trials and contamination of our food and seed supply chain

Field trials constitute a deliberate environmental release of unknown, untested and presumably unsafe organisms that are new in Nature. GMOs released into the environment in the garb of field trials pose various risks including contamination of wild gene pool, contamination of other crops, undetected entry into the food chain and jeopardizing trade security. In India, time and again, it has also been established that field trials have happened and are happening in violation of the meagre biosafety norms laid down. Institutional apathy and incapability of the regulatory system compounds the risks.

We oppose such risky open air trials of GMOs, whether it is being conducted by MNCs or public sector agencies – a poison is a poison, whoever serves it to us. Moreover, it is completely unacceptable for public sector organisations, funded by public money, to take up such trials on behalf of corporations like Monsanto. Our NARS (National Agricultural Research System)’s universities and their research stations are repositories of India’s germplasm wealth. This is a generous gift from our farmers to other farmers and the nation. All of this is being jeopardized through irresponsible open-air trials of GMOs.

Reports on GM contamination scandals, including the Ministry of Agriculture’s Sopory Committee’s, has shown that such contamination could happen inside a university either accidentally or intentionally, either biologically or through admixtures.

Credible bodies like a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture and a Supreme Court-appointed Technical Expert Committee of independent scientists have strongly recommended an immediate suspension of all open air field trials of GMOs in the country.

Demand to stop GM Field trials in Maharashtra

Maharashtra unfortunately has been made into a hotspot of risky GM experiments. Recently with Gujarat also joining other states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Bihar, West Bengal, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Kerala in denying permissions for field trials, Maharashtra has become the only state where such field trials are happening. The Maharashtra government has no evidence of safety that it has shown the public, that other state governments do not have, that allows it to take this approach when these other state governments are rejecting such trials. According to available information, Monsanto’s Herbicide tolerant and insect resistant (HT Bt) corn as well as HT corn trials are happening in the state at present in MPKV Rahuri and VNMKV Parbhani. Media reports have already shown serious violations at these trials of whatever little norms that exist.

We, the undersigned, demand that the Maharashtra government do not permit any open air field trials of GMOs since they are a threat to our food, farming and environment. We demand that the ongoing trials be destroyed immediately.

Sd/-:

  1. Y A Kawade, MIT, Aurangabad
  2. Vinita Mansata, Earthcare Books

  3. Vikram Bokey, Maharashtra Organic Farming Federation

  4. Dr Vikas Amte, Anandwan

  5. Vijay Jawandhia, Shetkari Sanghatana

  6.  Vibha Gupta, Magan Sangrahalaya
  7. Vasudha Sardar, Sendriya Setu

  8. Vanita Adhao, Mahila Vikas Parishad

  9. Vasant Futane, Nagpur Beejotsav Samiti

  10. Tanmay Joshi, Coalition for GM-Free Maharashtra

  11. Dr Suhas Kolhekar, Botanist & Molecular Biologist, Convenor-National Alliance for People’s Movements, Maharashtra

  12. Shripad Dharmadhikary, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra

  13. Shreesh Ponkshe, Small Farmers Group

  14. Subhash Lomte, National Convenor, National Campaign Committee for Rural Workers

  15. Shamika Mone, Organic Farming Association of India

  16. Sarika Saswade, Sahyog Pariwar

  17. Saurabh Raut, Koradwahu Gat

  18. Dr Satish Gogulwar, Amhi Amchya Arogya Saathi

  19. Sarang Pande, Lokapanchayat

  20. Ravindra R P, Dharamitra

  21. Dr Ramesh B Thakre, Geneticist, Bharat Krishak Samaj

  22. Rajubhau Tale, Sashwat Sheti Kruti Parishad

  23. Rajesh Krishnan, Coalition for a GM-Free India

  24. Ravi Badri, Ekta Parishad

  25. Prithvi Ghorpade, Organic Farmers’ Study Group

  26. Prathamesh Patil, Editor in Chief, Sumbaraan Magzine.

  27. Prashant Sawant, Honey For You

  28. Pandurang Shitole, Gram Parivartan

  29. Nitin Mate, Maharashtra Yuva Manch

  30. Nikhil Sheth, Back to the Land Unconference, Pune

  31. Neeraj Jain, Lokayat

  32. Namrata Devikar, Editor in Chief, The Bunk Magazine

  33. Narendra Joshi, Shetkari Mitra Kruti Gat

  34. Nand Kishor Gandhi, Satpuda Organic Farmers’ Group

  35. Maharudra Dake, Academy of Political and Social Studies

  36. Madhukar Ghumble, Kisan Mitra

  37. Kiran Gulrajani, CoEvolve
  38. Kavitha Kuruganti, Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture

  39. Karuna Futane, Gramseva Mandal, Wardha

  40. Kalpanatai Salunke, Pani Panchayat

  41. K J Joy, SOPPECOM

  42. Jayashree Rao, Gram Pari

  43. Jaiwant Mathkar, President, Sewagram Ashram Pratisthan

  44. Datta Patil, YUVA Rural

  45. Chinmay Futane, Sanvad

  46. Bharat Mansata, Van Vadi

  47. Banda Tatya Karadkar, Warakari Sampraday

  48. B G Kolse Patil, Retd. High Court Judge, Lokshasan

  49. Ashwin Paranjape, Gorus Organic Farming Association

  50. Ashok Bang, Chetana Vikas
  51. Ashish Kothari, Kalpavriksh

  52. Anitha Taheer, Arundel Farm

  53. Anant Bhoyar, Vidarbha Organic Farmers’ Study Group

  54. Ajit Abhyankar, CPI (M), Maharashtra

  55. Alok Tripathi, Biotechnologist, Director, Academia para la Educación Profesional

  56. Walter Mendoza, Pune
  57. Vitthal Deshmukh, Pune

  58. Vipul Shah, Baramati

  59. Tejashri Kamble, Korad Wahu Group, Pune

  60. Swati Kamble, Pune

  61. Swapnil Rishikant Shete, Film-maker, Mumbai

  62. Dr. Sushil  Tukaram Bari, Dnyandeep Academy

  63. Sunanda U Joshi, Pune

  64. Suma Josson, Film-maker, Mumbai

  65. Suhas Paranjape, Senior Fellow, SOPPECOM

  66. Sugandha Upasani, Pune

  67. Sudha Rajput, Pune

  68. Subroto Guin, Pune

  69. Shashi Dawre, Pune

  70. Seema Kulkarni, Senior Fellow, SOPPECOM

  71. Santosh Tungare, Pune

  72. Samiksha Farakate, Kankavli, Konkan

  73. Sachin Patil, Korad Wahu Gat, Nandurbar

  74. Rujuta Nalavade, Korad Wahu Gat, Pune

  75. Ritesh Gandhi, Pune

  76. Rishi Ganguly, Ecological Farming Group, Mumbai

  77. Rohit Patil, Korad Wahu Gat, Dhule

  78. Rina Kamath, Organic Farmer, Mumbai

  79. Rahul Goswami (formerly with National Agriculture Innovation Programme, GoI, 2009-13)

  80. Pawan K Shriwastav, Independent film-maker from Crowd Funding (Naya Pata)

  81. Preetee Oswal, Pune

  82. Pratibha Kamble, Pune

  83. Pranay Kamble, General Secratary Youth Congress, Pune city

  84. Pradeep Kamble, Pune

  85. Prabhakar Dhage, Executive Editor at Daily Pudhari

  86. Poonam Pate, Pune

  87. Poonam Barathe, Pune

  88. Pooja Shelar, Pune

  89. Pallavi Chavan, Korad Wahu Gat

  90. Nishant Morhule, Korad Wahu Gat

  91. Nishant Kamble, Pune

  92. Nikhil Kamble, Pune

  93. Neeraja Pathak, Pune

  94. Nanda Khare, Korad Wahu Gat

  95. Mukesh Varma, Mumbai

  96. Mrunalini Pol, Pune

  97. Madhavi Kolte, Pune

  98. Madhav Pandit, MOFF, Pune

  99. Mahesh Shinde, Director, Dnyandeep academy Pune

  100. Lakshmi Devi Nair, Pune

  101. Lalit Kamble, Maharashtra Arey  Dairy, Pune

  102. Kshitija Dhavle, Pune

  103. Kiran Hadpe, Pune

  104. Kshama Padalkar, Film Maker, FTII Pune.

  105. Kavita Phadatere, Pune

  106. Hemani Padya, Mumbai

  107. Ganesh Ghuge, Pune

  108. Dheeraj Barathe, Pune

  109. Deepak Kamble, Buddhist Society Of India, Pune

  110. Chandrakant Chavan, Pune

  111. Bharati Mirchandani, Pune

  112. Birajdar Ganesh, Latur

  113. Assunta Christy, Pune

  114. Akhilesh Deshpande, Amravati

  115. Ashwin Gambhir, Prayas Energy Group, Pune

  116. Akshay Utane, Korad Wahu

  117. Abhijit Patil, Dhule

  118. Anish Tore, Pune

  119. Anita Kharat, SHG, Baramati

  120. Abhay Saha, Initiatives of Change, Pachgani

  121. Akshay Indikar, Film Maker, FTII, Pune
First Published at http://indiagminfo.org/?p=781