AIKS Expresses Concern over GM Mustard
THE All India Kisan Sabha in a statement issued on February 4, notes with concern that the minister of environment and forests is pursuing aggressively for commercial release of GM mustard without carrying out stringent bio-safety tests. The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee is meeting on February 5 to take a decision on the matter. It is to be noted that there is no stringent fool-proof regulatory regime to look into transgenics and possible impact on bio-safety and bio-diversity. AIKS is strongly of the opinion that the bio-safety implying safety for humans, animals and environment as well as bio-diversity cannot be compromised. We demand that all data be put in the public domain for independent scientific scrutiny. Unless and until a broad-based regulatory body equipped to make stringent long-term tests in a fool-proof manner is in place, no approval for new varieties should be allowed. AIKS deplores the practice of allowing public sector research to be used for profiteering by seed monopolies. In the context of the experience of Bt Cotton in which seed monopolies are fleecing farmers with high prices and raking in super profits, we have seen that even when governments have decided to control prices they have refused to adhere to such decisions. This year lakhs of cotton farmers suffered due to whitefly and pink bollworm attack while the seed companies are going scot-free without being made accountable for the losses. AIKS calls upon the ministry of environment and forests to put on hold the GEAC meeting to decide on GM mustard and instead make serious efforts towards the setting up of an effective regulatory mechanism and also a legislation to fix liability of seed monopolies. In the absence of these measures AIKS will resist imposition of GM mustard. AIKS calls upon all its units to remain vigilant and protest against such moves by the government.