Tag Archives: GM crops

Coalition for GM Free India Urges the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to halt the permissions for open field trials of GM crops in the state

In the wake of media reports about the Maharashtra Govt granting No Objection Certificates (NOCs) for the open air field trials of GM crops in the state, the Coalition for a GM Free India along with the Coalition for a GM Free Maharashtra has sent a letter ( Fwded below) to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra urging him not to overlook the growing scientific evidence on the adverse impacts of GM crops as well as the public opposition to it.

The fact that the announcement regarding approvals of field trials was made on the sidelines of an event arranged by the International biotechnology industry lobby group, ISAAA shows in a way the influence International biotech giants like Monsanto as well as their Indian promoters have in every government. Besides this there seems to be no basis on which these open trials could be permitted at a time every other credible agency be it the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture or the Supreme Court appointed Technical Expert Committee or the TSR Subraminiam committee appointed by the Union Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to look into environmental laws in the country have cautioned against any open release of GMOs at this juncture.

One hopes that the Chief Minister, whose governing values is to put ‘People first’, would put science and society before profits of seed companies and reverse the NOCs which were granted.

To:

Shri Devendra Fadnavis,
Hon’ble Chief Minister,
Government of Maharashtra.

Dear Sir,

Re: Serious concerns around approval for open air field trials of five GM crops in Maharashtra – reg.

It has been reported in the media that the Government of Maharashtra has granted No Objection Certificates(NOCs) for allowing open air field trials of five Genetically Modified (GM) crops in the state. These crops include three major food crops of India.

It is shocking that the State has gone ahead with the NOCs at a juncture where all other states have said NO to field trials of GM crops due to the inherent problems with the technology and associated issues experienced with field trials in India and other countries.

As you may be kindly aware, the Supreme Court-appointed Technical Expert Committee(2013), the Parliamentary Standing Committee on GM crops (2012), the recent Subramanian Committee (2014) have all strongly recommended that open air field trials of GM crops not be granted. In addition, it has been specifically pointed out by these committees that crops where India is the Centre of Origin/Diversity should not be under any circumstance allowed to be genetically modified and tested in open air. This would jeopardize the gene pool in the place of origin. Rice, brinjal and chickpeas have India as their Centre of Origin/diversity. In addition, with regard to Bt brinjal, since the moratorium was imposed in 2010, no new evidence has emerged attesting to its need or its safety. On the contrary, further problems with health and environmental impacts have been revealed in new reports. You would also be kindly aware of the fact that the Sopory Committee report, commissioned by the Union Agriculture Ministry, has confirmed that contamination during field trials has indeed happened in the case of a GMO that was tested in the country.

All states including other BJP-ruled state governments like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh as well as non-BJP state governments like West Bengal, Odisha, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Bihar etc., have refused NOCs and continue to say no to open air field trials in their states . Therefore it is perplexing on what basis Maharashtra has taken this decision. The question arises as to what additional information the State of Maharastra has, to allow field trials. In fact, given the severe agrarian crisis that the state has become infamous for, it would call for greater caution and prudence from the government.

Further, the process of NOCs is also questionable. The announcement regarding approvals of field trials was made on the sidelines of an event arranged by the biotechnology industry lobby group ISAAA . One of the members of the Maharashtra State Committee (responsible for granting NOCs) was releasing the lobby group report ( on GM crops) and also revealed that the field trial approvals have been granted by the state. This member had in the past resigned from the apex regulatory body GEAC due to a controversy related to his industry association and conflict of interest. This points to undue access and influence the biotech industry lobby may have on the Committee members and throws doubt on the impartiality, neutrality and objectivity of the process of granting NOCs. The state government panel being headed by a nuclear scientist is also ironical, given that biosafety expertise is specialised and missing in the panel or its Chair.

It was mentioned in the news report that all field trials would be conducted within University campuses, even though previous experience has amply demonstrated that University campuses are on one side ill-equipped to deal with the complex biosafety mechanisms needed, including basic conditions like the necessary isolation distance, while on the other, these campuses are large repositories of our germplasm wealth. GM crops trials in close proximity to these will jeopardize the germplasm as contamination possibilities are high. Therefore, this is no way a safe guard.

As explicated by the various Committees and from evidence from past field trials it is amply evident that we have no biosafety norms in place to deal with this inherently dangerous, irreversible and unpredictable technology, which is quickly becoming undesirable and obsolete in many countries.

By approving these open air trials of unknown new organisms in Nature, the state government is making a statement that it abides by the industry pressure rather than uphold citizens’ right to biosafety – safe environment and safe food.

We urge you to urgently examine these approvals and immediately reverse the decision in the interests of biosafety, livelihood security, environment and public health. We also hope you will grant us a meeting so that we can discuss our concerns in person, present our scientific evidence as well as share viable alternatives that the state can pursue.

Sincerely Yours,

Rajesh Krishnan, Shamika Mone,
Convenor, Coalition for a GM Free India Coalition for a GM Free Maharashtra
Mob:07559915032, 9845650032 Mob: 8888862293
rajeshecologist@gmail.com

Gujarat Govt joins other states, says will not permit Field trials of GM food crops in the state. Coalition for a GM Free India urges Mr. Prakash Javadekar, the Minister for Environment, Forests & Climate Change to stop open air GM trials in the country.

New Delhi: October 9, 2014: In the latest development on the raging debate around open trials of the controversial Genetically Modified (GM) crops in India, the Gujarat state govt communicated formally that No Objection Certificate (NOC), will not be given for any GM food crops in the state. The NOC is a statutory requirement from the state govts for conducting open air trials. Gujarat thus joins other states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana etc who had denied permissions for field trials of GM crops. The communication from the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Govt of Gujarat, was in response to a letter by Mr. Kapil Shah of Jatan, an organisation working for the promotion of ecological farming in the state, raising concerns on the open air experiments of risky GM crops.[1] Talking about field trials the letter said that “after due consideration based on the various presentations received by this office, it is decided that NOCs will not be given to food crops.”
Welcoming the decision by the state government and terming it a very responsible one Kapil Shah stated, “It is a great relief for farmers and consumers of the state given that there is growing evidence on the adverse impacts of GM crops on human health, environment as well as farm livelihoods. Any open trials could become a potential source of contamination of our food and seed supply”. Mr Shah, a plant breeder and geneticist by training and a member of the newly constituted committee by the state govt. to draft the organic farming policy, also added, “It is a victory of people’s movements in Gujarat including farmers unions, scientists, consumer and environmental groups who had been fighting to stop open releases of GM crops in the state in the garb of field trials.”
The decision by Gujarat has once again highlighted the widespread opposition to open air trials of GM crops. Particularly disturbing is the recent flurry of field trial approvals by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF& CC), the nodal agency for any environmental release of GMOs in the country. GEAC had granted approvals for 47 such trials involving GM varieties of rice, wheat, maize, sorghum, cotton, brinjal, mustard, potato, sugarcane and chickpea across the country.
The Coalition for a GM Free India congratulated the Gujarat state govt for being responsive to the demands of its people and responsible to science. “It is heartening that a leading agricultural state like Gujarat has recognised that field trials of GMOs are the first environmental release of untested, unknown new organisms in nature and has decided to take a precautionary approach towards it” said Rajesh Krishnan, Convenor, Coalition for a GM Free India. He further stated that this decision is also in line with the recommendations by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture as well as the Supreme Court appointed Technical Expert Committee. Both had strongly advised against any open release of GMOs due to the scientific evidence on its adverse impacts as well as the inadequacy of the existing regulatory system.
“There is no dearth of scientific evidence to show that GM crops pose a serious threat to human health and biodiversity” said Kavitha Kuruganti of the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture ( ASHA), lead author of the compilation titled “ADVERSE IMPACTS OF TRANSGENIC CROPS/FOODS – A COMPILATION OF SCIENTIFIC REFERENCES WITH ABSTRACTS”. The second edition of the compilation had more than 450 peer reviewed papers about the deleterious effects of GM crops [2].
The latest study pointing to problems with GM crops comes from Monsanto scientists. The study published by Brazilian scientists along with scientists from Monsanto, the US seed giant and the leader in biotech seeds, as co-authors has acknowledged that transgene insertions in GM crops can have unintended effects. The study shows how GM (HT Bt) soybean produced by Monsanto, resistant to herbicides containing glyphosate and capable of producing a Bt insecticide, helps the growth of certain non-target pest insect, causing considerable damage to the soybean crop [3]. Citing the growing scientific evidence as well as public opposition Ms Kuruganti further stated, “GEAC’s mindless approval of GM crops is blatantly unscientific and undemocratic.”
With Gujarat also saying no to field trials of GM crops Maharashtra remains the only state where field trials are undergoing.The Coalition had earlier written to Prakash Javadekar pointing to the rampant violations at these GM trials of Monsanto in his home state as reported by media and demanded him to immediately stop all GM trials.[4]
In the light of the new scientific evidence on adverse impacts of GM crops, the experiences with Bt cotton along with the increasing opposition from state governments the Coalition for a GM Free India urged Mr Javadekar, the Minister for Environment, Forests & Climate Change, to heed to voice of people as well as recommendations from credible agencies like the Parliamentary Standing Committee and the Supreme Court-appointed TEC and immediately stop all open field trials. The Coalition also demanded a comprehensive analysis of the Bt cotton, the only commercially cultivated GM crop in India, experience before promoting it further.

Notes to the Editor:
1. The official response ( in Gujarati) from Gujarat Govt http://indiagminfo.org/?p=771
2. http://indiagminfo.org/?p=657
3. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9360220&fileId=S0007485314000546
4. http://www.thestatesman.net/news/79166-guidelines-in-gm-crop-trial-violated.html
For More information:
1. Kapil Shah, Jatan, Mob: 9427054132, email: jatantrust@gmail.com
2. Rajesh Krishnan, Coalition for a GM Free India, 9845650032, rajeshecologist@gmail.com

letter from eminent Indian scientists to the Prime Minister advising caution against GM crops

New Delhi,
1/08/2014.

To
Shri Narendra Modi,
The Prime Minister
Govt of India
Dear Sir,

Sub: Bringing to your notice the science based concerns on the environmental release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and urging your action to stop them. Reg:

We are writing this to bring to your attention the serious concerns of the Indian scientific community on the recent decision by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), under the ministry of Environment and Forest, to approve numerous experiments on GM crops, including many GM food crops.

It is shocking that GEAC took this decision in their first meeting after your government took charge. It is unfortunate that the committee continues to follow the unscientific approach towards environmental release of GMOs when there is growing scientific evidence for the adverse impact of GMOs on human health and environment which has been repeatedly brought to their notice. Equally important are the experiences from across the world on the potential of this technology to facilitate monopolisation of seeds by a select few multinational seed companies. One has seen that with Bt cotton, the only GM crop approved for commercial cultivation in our country. Within a decade of its approval, Monsanto, the largest Biotech seed company in the world, has taken total control of our cotton seed market through its proprietory Bt cotton.

We would like to highlight the fact that opposition to open releases of GMOs originated in the scientific circles and continues to be fuelled by ever-growing scientific evidences of its adverse impacts. This is precisely the reason that majority of the countries in the world have decided to take a precautionary approach towards this controversial technology. Even in our country the first and only Agri biotechnology taskforce appointed by the government of India and headed by Dr M. S Swaminathan in its report submitted in 2004 had recommended that transgenics should be resorted to only when other viable options have been exhausted. The task force also reccomended that a robust regulatory system should be put in place.

This is the approach that has been further reflected in the reports by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture as well as the Supreme Court-appointed Technical Expert Committee (TEC). Given the scientificaly valid conerns on open releases of GMOs as well as the serious inadequacies in the existing regulatory system in our country both these committees had strongly reccomended against any open release of GMOs, including their field trials, untill a robust regulatory system in in place. Unfortunately the previous UPA government consistently rejected these prudent advices.

We hope that your government would rectify this mistake and ensure that safeguarding of biosafety and livelihoods of farmers as well as ensuring seed sovereignity and food security of the nation will be the primary concern when assessing the need and the safety of GMOs.We would also like to point out that this precautionary approach towards GM crops is consistent with the promise given by your party, Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP), in its election manifesto.

We hereby enclose the letter that we had written to the previous Prime Minister of our country urging him to keep science, society and the interest of the nation in mind and accept the reccomendations of the TEC(1). This letter was endorsed by more than 250 Indian scientists of eminence including Padma Awardees, Vice Chancellors of universities, etc.

Looking forward to your urgent action in stopping the field trial approvals and giving our country a new policy direction in the regulation of such technologies which will put science, society and national interest before profit motives of a few.

Sincerely yours
Sd/-
1. Padmabhushan Dr. P.M Bhargava
Former member, National Knowledge commission, Founder Director Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad.
2. Dr. Minoo Parabia,
Retd. Professor and Head, Dept. of Bio Sciences,
Veer Narmad South Gujarat University, Surat, Gujarat.

3. Dr. V.S Vijayan,
Former Chairman, Kerala State Biodiversity Board, Former Director,
Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore .
4. Prof. Dinesh Abrol, Institute of Studies in Industrial Development,Visiting Professor, Centre for Studies in Science Policy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
5. Dr. Tushar Chakraborty,
Sr Scientist, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata, Member, State Biotechnology Council, Govt of West Bengal.

(1) http://indiagminfo.org/?p=649

Copy to:
1. Shri. Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Govt of India
2. Shri. Radha Mohan Singh, Union Minister for Agriculture, Govt of India.
3. Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister for Science and Technology, Govt of India.

GM Free India Coalition urges Environmental Minister to stop approval of GM crops field trials

New Delhi,
17/07/2014.
To
Shri Prakash Javadekar,                                                                                                     The Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change,                                                  Govt of India.
Dear Sir,
Sub: Seeking your urgent intervention in stopping approval for Field trials of GM Crops Reg:
We are writing this with utmost concern as numerous media reports in the last two days have indicated that the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), under your ministry is proposing to approve numerous field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops including of many new crops during its next meeting slated for the 18th of July, 2014. We are afraid that this meeting being the first after you took charge of the ministry is going to set a wrong precendent.This is a totally undesirable development considering the numerous problems associated with GMOs.

We would like to bring to your attention that this is happening at a time when the Supreme Court appointed Technical Expert Committee in its final report submitted last year had strongly recommended against any open release of GMOs, including for field trials, until the regulatory system is made robust. More than 250 Indian scientists, including Vice Chancellors of Universities and Padma awardees, had written to the then Prime Minister endorsing the reccomendations of TEC.1 It is highly inappropriate that permissions for environmental release of GM crops are being given with an undue haste by GEAC despite these advices and before a final view on the matter is being taken by the court.
A similar reccomendation was also given by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, comprising of 32 M.Ps from across party lines including 7 from Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) in their report submitted in the Parliament on August, 2012.
During the two previous meetings of the GEAC, numerous approvals were granted for extension of field trial period of GMOs, indiscriminately, and the details of these extensions have not been shared in the minutes by the previous Ministry. So, in addition to hasty approvals the attempt has also been to go against the transparency norms laid down as part of good governance.

In addition to both these reports the Sopory Committee Report2 , commissioned by the Indian Council for Agricultural research (ICAR), to look into the egregious failure of the first Indian public sector Bt cotton, pointed to serious problems with the apex regulator of biotechnology and deep rooted problems with GM research in the country.

As you are aware, the approval field trials of GM crops had been a contentious issue even during the tenure of the previous government. It is widely suspected that Smt Jayanti Natarajan who wanted to go by the recommendations of the TEC as well as the Parliamentary Standing committee was shunted out and Mr Veerappa Moily brought in at the fag end of the UPA govt to give these approvals. There was wide spread opposition to the way in which approvals for numerous field trials were given during the last 3 months of the previous govt. Farmers Unions including the Bharatiya Kisan Morcha, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, All India Kisan Sabha and political parties including your own had condemned this3.
We are shocked that under the watch of the newly formed BJP government the GEAC is continuing its ill-conceived plans of approval of GM crops disregarding valid concerns regarding GMOs.
Sir, we urge you to look into this urgently so that this wrong practice instituted under the UPA regime is not continued by the new government in place. Considering the numerous problems with GM crops, including adverse impacts on human and animal health and the environment, the pendency of the Supreme Court hearing and the fact that there is no over- riding need to allow field trials of unapproved GMOs, we hope you will urgently intervene in this matter and prevent any more approvals of GMOs.

Thanking You

Rajesh Krishnan,                                                                                                          Convener , Coalition for a GM-Free India,                                                             Mob:09845650032 , email: rajeshecologist@gmail.com

Eminent individuals, citizen groups ask Maharashtra’s CM to cancel clearance given for field trials of GM crops

Mumbai, March 13: Mr Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner released a letter to Maharashtra’s Chief Minister and Agriculture Minister written by leading organizations such as BNHS, AGNI, Council for Fair Business Practices, Avaaz and V CAN and by eminent individuals, including the former Director of TISS, former Secretary Agriculture, GOI and four former Judges of the Supreme Court, namely Justice Sujata Manohar Justice M B Shah, Justice S N Variava and Justice B N Srikrishna, at a press conference today. The letter questioned the need for field trials of GM crops given by Veerappa Moily and Maharshtra”s CM, when the Supreme Court is presently considering a Technical Expert Committee (TEC) report. The TEC’ has recommended a moratorium on all field trials of GM. . The letter points out that a ban on GM field trials was also unanimously recommended by a multi party Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture (PSCA) in 2012.

The letter states that it is shocking that Maharashtra has granted clearance for 28 GM field trials, including foods like rice, wheat, maize best online casino and brinjal. It is one of only 4 States to have given permission, at least 9 states have refused permission .. The letter deplores the secret deliberations and the haste in giving clearances just before the elections. They state “Every citizen and every farmer must have the right to be free of GM if they wish. The Secretary Agriculture, GOI, admitted to the TEC that it will not be possible to segregate GM from non GM crops.” . Their concerns cover the irreversibility, unpredictability and potential risks to health, environment, livelihoods, India”s seed sovereignty. These and the lack of proven benefits is reason for GM is being rejected or severely controlled by most countries. India is already one of 5 countries that account for 90% of GM. cropland Public debate is necessary as it can irreversibly impact food, farming and the environment.

For More Info
Mrs Dilnavaz Variava, former CEO of WWF India,Co-convenor, Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA)
mob:09821116789
Letter to Maharashtra CM to deny permissions for GM field trials in the state.

Activists slam Veerappa Moily for putting corporate profits before nation’s interests

New Delhi, March 4th, 2014: Activists from Greenpeace India along with members of Coalition for a GM Free India today registered a strong protest against the way the Union Minister of Environment and Forest, Veerappa Moily has taken the side of multinational seed companies to permit hundreds of field trials of GM crops across the country. As a reflection of the growing anger across all sections of the society in the country, the activists unfurled a banner at the MoEF building highlighting the message “Moily Selling the Nation” and further urged other political leaders to come forward and save our food, farming and environment from the mindless promotion of GM crops by Moily and the Union govt.

“The environment minister has gone ahead and approved around 200 GM Field Trials including GM varieties of rice, maize and other food crops which have a huge potential to contaminate our seed and food supply. We want all the political parties to come forward and demand the reversal of this irresponsible decision.” said Neha Saigal, Senior Campaigner, Greenpeace, India. She further added that “Mr. Moily”s clearance for field trials just before the country is going for Lok Sabha elections smacks of impropriety, to say the least. Clearly corporate interests have won over the people of this country.”

“It’s now amply clear that Veerappa Moily was brought in during the last innings of the UPA 2 to give express approvals for these risky experiments of GM crops and with this one act the govt has once again proved that they do not care about science or society when it comes to GM crops” said Rajesh Krishnan, Convenor, Coalition for a GM Free India. The coalition had recently released a compilation of more than 400 scientific papers on the adverse impacts of GM crops (1). He further stated that “This is a last ditch effort by the central govt to bring GM crops into our food and farms through the backdoor after having failed to pass the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill to ease their approval process”.

BRAI Bill, 2013, an alleged legislative effort by the UPA-2 government to create a single window easy approval system for environmental releases of GM crops had lapsed after repeated efforts of the govt to get it passed, failed in the parliament.

The decision to permit field trials has been getting flak from various quarters. Various farmer unions as well as political parties like AAP, JD (U) and PMK have condemned this action. The Kerala state Agriculture Minister in a public statement after learning about the field trial permission declared that Kerala will not permit any field trials of GM crops. State governments of online casino Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Tamilnadu had earlier denied permissions for GM field trials in their respective states.

“Experience with the only GM crop, Bt cotton, has shown that GM crops benefit multinational seed companies and no one else. Veerappa Moily, by permitting field trials seems to be doing a great favour to these companies who are out there to take control of our seeds and thereby our farming,” said Umendra Dutt of Kheti Virasat Mission from Punjab. Pointing to the doubling of share prices of Monsanto, the American multinational seed giant, who is also the global leader in GM seeds, within a span of 2 months of Moily taking over as the Union Environment Minister, he further stated that this collusion of seed companies and policy makers is putting our seed, food and national sovereignty at risk.”

Joining the protest, Rachana Arora, of India for Safe Food Campaign stated that “GM crops are one of the greatest threats to our food safety and consumer choice and we reject all those who stand for GM crops.”

The activists urged all the political parties to stand by the welfare of the citizens and nation and oppose the disastrous decision taken by Veerappa Moily.

Notes:

Link to compilation of scientific references on Adverse Impact of Transgenic Crops- http://indiagminfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Sci-ref-complete-book-2nd-edition.pdf

Contact details:

Neha Saigal, Senior Campaigner, Greenpeace India, 91 7760 968772, neha.saigal@greenpeace.org

Rajesh Krishnan, Convenor, Coalition for a GM Free India, 91 98456 50032, rajeshecologist@gmail.com

Umendra Dutt, Executive Director, Kheti Virasat Mission, Punjab, 91 9872682161, umendradutt@gmail.com

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“Accept majority TEC final report”: More than 250 scientists write to PM

To: November 8th 2013

The Hon’ble Prime Minister,
Government of India.

Respected Sir,

Sub: Request to accept the Final Report submitted by the Supreme Court-appointed Technical Expert Committee (TEC) on modern-biotechnology regulation

Greetings.

Never in the history of agriculture has a technology been so controversial as Genetic Engineering (GE)/Genetic Modification (GM) of crops. The unpredictability and irreversibility of Genetic Modification (GM) as a technology and the uncontrollability of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) in the environment, coupled with scientific studies pointing at the potential risk to human health and environment, has resulted in a controversy across the world around the safety as well as the very need for introducing such potentially risky organisms into food and farming systems. These concerns, incidentally, have been raised first and foremost by scientists who are free of vested interests, on scientific grounds.

As scientists and experts in our respective subjects we endorse and share concerns related to the irreversible impacts of science and technology of GMOs in our food, farming and environment. There are, in addition, socio economic and other concerns to which, as scientists, we should not be oblivious. The concentration of control of the most important input in agriculture, namely seeds, through a technology implemented with rigidly enforced Intellectual Property Rights is a matter of concern in view of the ease with which tinkering at the level of genes allows exclusive monopolistic rights to accrue to commercial entities. Since most such IPRs on important components and processes of GM are already in the hands of a handful of MNCs, this will inevitably lead to their monopolistic power over Indian agriculture over time. In the Indian context, there are also concerns on massive displacement of farm labour if Herbicide Tolerant (HT) GM crops are introduced. Given that the world is heavily tilted against the introduction of this controversial technology at this point of time, with a majority of nations not opting for it, this also raises serious issues of impact on India’s agricultural exports. The Honourable Supreme Court in a Public Interest Litigation on concerns related to environmental releases of GMOs, has set up a Technical Expert Committee to look into relevant issues for India pertaining to biosafety and other aspects/impacts of GMOs.

We welcome the fact that many relevant issues pertaining to GMOs have been appropriately taken on board in the Final Report of the Technical Expert Committee appointed by the Court. This Final Report has been submitted as a unanimous report to the Supreme Court by 5 independent experts of the TEC who have expertise on “safety science” related to GMOs and have been looking into the matter from May 2012. We are of the view that the separate report submitted by the sixth member, appointed into the TEC in November 2012, an agricultural scientist who unfortunately has an objectionable conflict of interest notable of which is the fact that the organisation he heads is funded by the Biotech seed companies like Monsanto, Mahyco, etc, lacks the soundness of content of the Final Report. It is ironical that even this SC appointed committee has had to face such conflict of interest situation, given that this has been the case with almost all GM-related issues in India so far.

The sixth member’s approach of equating ‘environmental release’ of GMOs only as commercial cultivation is not tenable, as every use of GMOs outside any containment, such as in field trials, constitutes a deliberate environmental release. The sixth member is echoing the same arguments as the Agriculture Ministry on food security whereas it has been shown quite convincingly that food security, even in its narrow interpretation, could actually get jeopardised with transgenicsl, as experience from elsewhere shows. Many of us have in the past written to the Minister for Environment and Forests on this subject.

From the separate report submitted by the sixth member, it appears that he believes that the current regulatory system with its various guidance procedures is mostly satisfactory, whereas the 5 independent members of the TEC have most convincingly shown with their painstaking work on biosafety analysis that even the most basic capabilities related to biosafety assessment are missing in India, and that the regulatory processes are grossly inadequate.

We write this letter to endorse the Final report of the TEC for the reasons given below:

1. The Final Report rightly recognizes that bringing out GMOs into any open air environment constitutes an environmental release, irrespective of the misleading terminology used in Indian regulatory parlance, where the term ‘environmental release’ is used only for commercial cultivation, whereas every open air trial even if it is called a ‘confined field trial’, is actually a deliberate environmental release of GMOs. Moreover when it comes to trials, the GMOs are yet unassessed and their impacts unknown.

2. Further, the Report has clearly understood that not all GMOs are the same in terms of the risks they pose, nor are they needed in the Indian context except when no other options exist. The same approach was adopted by the MS Swaminathan-led Task Force on Agricultural Biotechnology, whose report was accepted by the Government of India in 2004, and which stated inter alia that the transgenic approach should be “resorted to when other options to achieve the desired objectives are either not available or not feasible”.

3. Having considered the available options, risks and benefits, the Final Report has wisely recommended against the deployment of Bt food crops in India until their safety is established, and recommended the avoidance of Herbicide Tolerant GM crops. The Report also recommends a ban on genetic modification of crops for which India is the Centre of Origin/Diversity.These recommendations rightly include any open air field trials.

4. When it comes to sequencing of risk assessment, the Final Report is scientifically sound in recommending that“the sequence of testing should be carried out in order of increasing environmental exposure required to perform the test. Tests should be done under the minimum conditions of exposure required for the test. The testing therefore proceeds in a progressive manner that increases confidence regarding safety, with increasing exposure”.

5. Importantly, from their perusal of the biosafety dossiers for GM applications that the Indian regulators had already cleared as safe, the five independent TEC members have once again confirmed the dismal state of regulatory affairs in India. While the Bt brinjal moratorium decision by the Government of India in 2010 indicated something similar, the TEC’s own painstaking work on this front is a vindication of the Government of India’s decision at that time to stop the commercial cultivation of Bt brinjal. It is also in line with the unanimous report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture tabled on 9th August 2012, after three years of indepth study of GM food crops in India. The TEC main report therefore rightly points out that “it is apparent that there are major gaps in the regulatory system. These need to be addressed before issues related to tests can be meaningfully considered. Till such time it would not be advisable to conduct more field trials”. As experts specialising in various fields pertinent to biosafety and sustainable livelihoods, we endorse this important recommendation from the 5 independent members of the TEC.

6. The report makes an important recommendation on maintaining the independence (and therefore, scientific integrity) of regulation: Conflict of interest in terms of the location of the regulatory body needs to be avoided. The suggestion of the TEC that the regulatory bodies be located in the MoEF (environmental safety) and the MoHFW (health safety) is correct. It should always be ensured that all members of the regulatory bodies are also free of conflict of interest.

7. We are also of the view that stakeholder participation, need assessment, socioeconomic considerations, sustainablitiy and societal impact should be some of the dimensions to be incorporated in the risk assessment and this should be done at an early stage in the risk assessment process.

8. Other recommendations of the Final report, including asking for assessment of inter-generational and chronic impacts, or the need for the regulatory regime to be open to new scientific information that may have a bearing on risk assessment even after deregulation of a product, or for India to establish a strong, state-of-the-art biosafety regulatory system are all most welcome and their implementation is, in fact, long-overdue.

The sincere implementation of the recommendations of the Final Report submitted by the 5 eminent and independent members of the Supreme Court appointed Technical Expert Committee will go a long way in restoring societal confidence in science-based independent regulation of GMOs in India.

We urge the Government of India to accept the recommendations of the TEC Final report as it is based on sound science, principles of sustainability and intergenerational justice. We sincerely hope that vested interests would not be allowed to prevail and prevent the acceptance of this scientifically sound report. We look forward to the Union of India accepting these recommendations in full in the Supreme Court and thus ensuring the speedy delivery of justice based on the recommendations of these five eminent scientists of unimpeachable credentials.

Sincerely,

Sd/-
1. Padma Bhushan Dr P M Bhargava, Founder Director, CCMB, Hyderabad
2. Prof R N Basu, Former Vice Chancellor, Calcutta University
3. Dr V S Vijayan, Former Chairman, Kerala State Biodiversity Board
4. Dr Tushar Chakraborty, Sr Scientist, IICB, Kolkata
5. Dr Dinesh Abrol, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Endorsed by:

1. Padma Bhushan Dr Daljit Singh, Professor Emeritus, Medical College, Amritsar, Punjab
2. Padma Shri Dr M H Mehta, Former Vice Chancellor, Gujarat Agriculture University, The Science Ashram / Gujarat Life Sciences, Vadodara, Gujarat
3. Dr A Biju Kumar, Associate Professor and Head, Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, University of Kerala, Kariavattom, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
4. Prof A K Ghosh, Director Centre for Environment and Development, Kolkata (Also, Adjunct Faculty, School of Environmental Studies and School of Oceanography, Jadavpur University & Department of Human Rights, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, West Bengal. Member, National Biodiversity Authority, 2003-2009. Member, Task Force on Environment and Biodiversity, 11th Plan, Planning Commission)
5. Dr A J T Johnsingh, Eminent Biologist, Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, Former Joint Director, Wildlife Institute of India, Karnataka
6. Dr A R Vasavi, Social Anthropologist, Senior Fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi
7. Dr Abey George, Faculty, Tata Institute of Social Sciences-Kerala Centre, Trivandrum, Kerala
8. Prof Abhee K. Dutt- Majumder, Working Chairman, West Bengal State Council of S&T.
Professor, High Energy Physics, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata, West Bengal
9. Dr Abhra Chakraborty, District Fisheries Officer, Bardhaman, West Bengal
10. Dr Adarsh Pal Vig, Head of Department of Botany and Environmental Studies, GND University, Amritsar, Punjab
11. Dr Ajab Singh, Agriculture Economist, Uttarakhand
12. Prof Allauddin Ahmad, Former Vice Chancellor, Shere- Kashmir Agriculture University, Srinagar. Former Vice Chancellor, Hamdard University, Patna, Bihar
13. Dr Alok Srivastava, Professor, Department of Chemistry, Panjab University, Patiala, Punjab
14. Dr Amar Singh Azad, Director, Environmental Health Action Group, Patiala, Punjab
15. Dr Ambika Varma, Associate Professor (Retd.), College of Forestry, Kerala Agriculture University, Mannuthy, Trichur, Kerala
16. Dr Amit Basole, Economics, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA
17. Dr Amitabha Lahiri, Professor, S.N.Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Kolkata, West Bengal
18. Dr Amol Patwardhan, Entomology expert, Professor of Zoology, Thane, Maharashtra
19. Dr Amruth M, Scientist, Forestry and Human Dimensions, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Thrissur, Kerala
20. Dr Anant Phadke, Co-Convenor, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Maharashtra
21. Dr Anbazhagan Kolandaswamy, Post Doctoral Researcher (Immunology/Inflammation), Montpellier, France
22. Dr Aneel Kumar Singh, Senior Scientist, Seed, ICAR, Patna, Bihar
23. Dr Anil Pande, Associate Professor, Government D.B. Girls College, Raipur, Chhattisgarh
24. Dr Anish Andheria, President, Wildlife Conservation Trust and Consultant, Sanctuary Asia, Mumbai, Maharashtra
25. Dr Anish Dua, Associate Professor, Department of Zoology, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab
26. Dr Anoop Das, Assistant Professor, M.E.S. Mampad College, Malappuram, Kerala
27. Dr Anup Kumar Bandyopadhyay, Professor (retired), Department of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, West Bengal
28. Dr Anupam Paul, Assistant Director of Agriculture, Biodiversity Conservation Farm, Agricultural Training Centre, Nadia, West Bengal
29. Dr Anurag Goel, Molecular Biologist, WAPRED, Madikeri, Karnataka
30. Dr Arun P R, Environmental Impact Assessment, Principal Scientist, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
31. Dr Arun Mitra, General Secretary, Indian Doctors for Peace and Development, New Delhi
32. Dr Arun Waghela, BB Chitle Mahavidyalaya, Bhilwadi, Sangli, Maharashtra
33. Dr Arundeep Ahluwalia, Scientist Emeritus, Geology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, Punjab
34. Dr Asad Rahmani, Director, Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, Maharashtra
35. Dr Ashok Kundapur, Environmental Biology and Alternate Energy Expert, Udupi, Karnataka
36. Dr Ashwani Sharma, Registrar, Guru Ravi Dass Ayurved University, Hoshiarpur, Punjab
37. Prof Atul H Choksi, Material Science and Engineering, IISc, Bangalore, Karnataka
38. Dr Atul Mehta, Research Scientist, Rice, Anand Agriculture University, Gujarat
39. Dr Avik Ray, Associate Scientist, ATREE, Bangalore, Karnataka
40. Dr B B Sharma, Prof. of Zoology and Principal of Vaze College, Mumbai, Maharashtra
41. Prof B Narsimha Reddy, Plant Pathology Laboratory, Dept of Botany, Osmania University, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
42. Dr Baburao Kalapala, Retd Deputy Director of IICT (Indian Institute of Chemical Technology), Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
43. Dr Bhalchandra D. Bhawe, Photoelectronic Technolgist, Vijnan Bharati, Mumbai, Maharashtra
44. Dr Bhasundhra Chhetri, Department of Zoology, Tadong, Gangtok, Sikkim
45. Dr Bhoj K Acharya, Assistant Professor, Department of Zoology, Sikkim Government College, Tadong, Gangtok, Sikkim
46. Dr C T S Nair, Former Chief Economist (Forestry Dept), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Former, Exec-Vice President, Kerala State Science Technology and Environment Council, Kerala
47. Dr Chandra Sekhar G, Head, Knowledge Management, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture; Entomologist, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
48. Prof Charudatta Kamlakarrao Deshmukh, Agricultural Engineering, Pune, Maharashtra
49. Dr Christopher, Reader, Department of Environmental Sciences, M G University, Kerala
50. Dr Claude Alvares, Organic Farming Association of India, Goa
51. Dr Datta G.Bhapkar, Retd. Director of Research – Mahatama Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri, Maharahstra
52. Dr Debal Deb, Ecology and Conservation expert, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies, Odisha
53. Dr Deepa Rathi, Expert in Textile Technology, Counseling & Healing, Thane Maharashtra
54. Dr Devika, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
55. Dr Dhanya Bhaskar, Assistant Professor (Environmental Science), College of Agriculture, University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur, Karnataka
56. Dr Dileepkumar R, Molecular Biologist, Research Coordinator, Centre for Venom studies, University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
57. Dr Dinesan Cheruvat, Deputy Director of Fisheries & Farm Manager, Model Shrimp Farm & Training Centre, Mala, Thrissur, Kerala
58. Dr E Kunhikrishnan, Professor, Dept of Zoology, Kerala University. Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
59. Dr Elizabeth Joseph, Retd. Scientist (Fisheries), Kerala Agriculture University, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
60. Dr Esha Shah, Social Anthropologist of Technology, Fellow, Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
61. Prof F B Mandal, Animal Behaviour Research Unit, Bankura Christian College, West Bengal
62. Dr G K Satpute, Genetics and Plant Breeding, Former Dean, College of Agriculture, Tikamgarh, JNKVV, Madhya Pradesh
63. Dr G Kumaravelu, IFS (Retd), Nature Conservationist, Former Addl Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and former Member of State Planning Commission,Tamilnadu
64. Dr G P I Singh, Vice Chancellor, Adesh University, Bathinda, Punjab
65. Dr G S Kaushal, Soil Scientist, Former Director, Department of Agriculture, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
66. Dr G S Mohan, Assistant Professor, Agricultural Research Station, UAS, Bangalore, Karnataka
67. Dr G V Ramanjaneyulu, Agriculture Scientist, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Hyderabad
68. Dr G M Radhamani, Associate professor, Dept of Botany, University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
69. Dr Ganapathy Murugan, Executive Director, Public Health Resource Network, New Delhi
70. Dr Gayatri Auti, Veterinary Microbiologist, Anthra, Pune Maharashtra
71. Dr Geeta Arora, PEC University, Chandigarh, Punjab
72. Dr Goldin Quadros, Senior Scientist, Wetland Ecology Division, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu
73. Dr Gunasekaran, University of Delhi, New Delhi
74. Dr Gurbax Singh Chhina, Khalsa College of Agriculture, Amritsar, Punjab
75. Prof Guruprasad Kar, Professor, Physics & Applied Mathematics Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, West Bengal
76. Dr H R Mishra, Former VC, Ranchi Agri University, Patna, Bihar
77. Dr H R Prakash, Retd. Soil Scientist, Department of Agriculture, Bangalore, Karnataka
78. Dr H S Prema, Nutritionist, Varenya Nutrition Concepts, Bangalore, Karnataka
79. Dr Hardayal Singh, Agriculture Scientist, Patti, Amritsar, Punjab
80. Dr Hari Narayanan, Scientist, Professor, Guruvayoorappan College, Trichur, Kerala
81. Prof Harsh Kumar, Department of Biotechnology, Rajendra Agriculture University, Pusa, Bihar
82. Dr Hema M, Agricultural Economics, College of Horticulture, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur, Kerala
83. Dr Imrana Qadeer, Public Health expert, Visiting Professor, Council for Social Development. Retired Professor, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, JNU, New Delhi
84. Dr Indira Devi, Professor (Economics), Kerala Agriculture University, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
85. Dr J C Upadhyaya, Retired Professor, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
86. Dr J K Nigam, Plant Breeder, Director, Qualitas Seeds, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
87. Fr. Dr J Prasant Palakkappillil, Principal, Sacred Heart College, Thevara, Kochi, Kerala
88. Dr Jagbir Singh, HoD, Zoology & Environmental Sciences, Punjabi University, Patiala, Punjab
89. Dr Jayanta K Das, Associate Professor, Vivekananda Institute of Medical Sciences, Kolkata, West Bengal
90. Prof Jayanta Nayak, Koraput National University, West Bengal
91. Dr Johannes Manjrekar, Molecular Biologist, Microbiology Department and Biotechnology Centre, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, Gujarat
92. Dr Jose Kallarackal Emeritus Scientist, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi, Trichur, Kerala
93. Dr Juliet Vanitharani, Professor & head, Bat Research laboratory, Advance Zoology and Biotechnology Department and, Research Centre, Sarah Tucker College, Tirunelveli. Member, Tamilnadu Biodiversity Board, Tamilnadu
94. Dr Jyothi Krishnan, Faculty, Tata Institute of Social Sciences-Kerala Centre, Trivandrum, Kerala
95. Dr K C Raghu, Food Technologist, Pristine Organics, Bangalore, Karnataka
96. Dr K D Yadav, Professor of Agriculture Extension, Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya, Madhya Pradesh
97. Dr K Gunathilagaraj, Retd Professor of Agricultural Entomology, TNAU, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu
98. Prof K K Krishnamurthy, Former Dean, TNAU and President, Indian Society for Certification of Organic Products, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu
99. Dr K S S Nair, Entomologist, Former Director, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Trichur, Kerala
100. Dr K V Sankaran, Former Director, Kerala Forest Research Institue, Peechi, Kerala
101. Dr K Vidyasagaran, Associate Professor & Head, Dept. of Forest Management & Utilization, College of Forestry, KAU, Vellanikkara,Thrissur, Kerala
102. Dr Kalyan Rudra, River Scientist, Member, Ganga Monitoring Committee, Kolkata, West Bengal
103. Dr Lahu K. Gaekwad, Kala Vanijya Vigyan Mahavidyalaya, Pune, Maharashtra
104. Dr Lalitha Vijayan, Sr Scientist, Salim Ali Foundation and formerly, Acting Director and Senior Principal Scientist, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural Studies (SACON), Coimbatore, Thrissur, Kerala
105. Dr Latha Anantha, conservationist, Director, River Research Centre, Thrissur – Kerala
106. Prof M C Varshneya, Former Vice Chancellor, Anand Agriculture University, Gujarat
107. Prof M K Prasad, Former Pro-VC, Calicut University; Ex-Chairman, Information Kerala Mission, Kerala
108. Prof M K Ramesh, Professor of Law and Founding Coordinator of Centre for Environmental Law Education Research and Advocacy (CEERA); Commons Cell, Environmental Law Clinic and MHUPA Chair Professor of Urban Poor and the Law, National Law School of India University, Bangalore, Karnataka
109. Dr M Parameswaran, Retired Professor of Biochemistry, Gujarat Agricultural University, Gujarat
110. Dr M S Chari, Entomologist, NPM Expert and Retd. Director, Central Tobacco Research Institute. Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
111. Dr M S Johal, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, Panjab University, Patiala, Punjab
112. Dr M Zeenath, Associate Professor, Department of Zoology, MES KVM Colege Valanchery, Kerala
113. Dr Mahadev R Pachegaonkar, Veterinary Scientist and Expert in Organic Farming, Organic Farmers Study Group-Khalad, Latur, Maharastra
114. Dr Maitrayee Dasgupta, Head of the Dept (Retd), Biochemistry, Calcutta University, Kolkata, West Bengal
115. Dr Mammen Chundamannil, Scientist, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Thrissur, Kerala
116. Dr Mariamma Cherian, Scientist, UGC, Dept of Botany, University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
117. Dr Mathew Koshy, Research Guide, Kerala University, Retd. Principal of Bishop Moore College Mavelikara, Kerala
118. Dr Maya Mahajan, Environmental Science and Sustainability expert, Amrita University, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu
119. Prof Mini N. Vijayan, Deparment of Botany, Carmel College for Women, Nuvem, Goa
120. Dr Minoo Hiraji Parabia, Retired Professor and Head, Department of Biosciences, South Gujarat University, Surat; Member, State Biodiversity Board, Government of Gujarat
121. Dr Mira Shiva, Public Health Physician, New Delhi
122. Dr Mohamad Kasim, Principal Scientist (Retd.), Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Chennai, Tamilnadu
123. Dr Mohan Rao, MBBS, Ph.D. Professor, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
124. Dr Mousumi Poddar, Deparment of Botany, Calcutta University, Kolkata, West Bengal
125. Dr N L Shah, Biotechnologist, Pune, Maharahstra
126. Dr N N Panicker, Ocean Engineering, Independent Thinker and Innovator, Kerala
127. Dr N P Balakrishnan, Deputy Director (Retd.), Botanical Survey of India, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu
128. Dr N P Singh, Retd. Director, State Farms Corporation Of India ( PSU), New Delhi, Ex ICAR Scientist, Post Graduate & Doctorate fro BHU, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
129. Dr N Paul Sunder Singh, Karunalaya Social Service Society, Chennai, Tamilnadu
130. Dr Nandini Rajamani, Co-Director, India Biosciences, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka
131. Dr Nandita Shah, Sanctuary of Health and Reconnection to Animals and Nature (SHARAN), Auroville, Tamil Nadu
132. Dr Narasimha Reddy Donti, Chetana Society, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
133. Dr Narendra Kumar Sharma, Senior Scientist, Humancytogenitic, Radiation Biology & Health Sciences Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Center, Trombay, Mumbai, Maharashtra
134. Dr Neeta Dharamsey, Nutritionist, Mumbai, Maharashtra
135. Dr Nimisha Shukla, Professor and Head, Department of Rural Economics, Gujarat Vidyapeeth, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
136. Dr Nitya Sambamurti Ghotge, Veterinary Scientist, Anthra, Pune, Maharashtra
137. Dr O P Sharma, Agriculture Economist, Patna, Bihar
138. Dr O P Upadhyaye, Vice Chancellor, Guru Ravi Dass Ayurved University, Hoshiarpur, Punjab
139. Prof Om Damani, IIT Bombay, Mumbai
140. Dr Om Parkash Rupela, Soil Scientist and Molecular Biologist, Formerly with ICRISAT and Consultant to FAO, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
141. Dr P A Azeez, Conservation & Environment Scientist, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
142. Dr P Balakrishnan, Rajiv Gandhi Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute, Palode, Trivandrum, Kerala
143. Dr P C Bhattacharjee, Professor and Head (Retd), Guwahati University, Guwahati, Assam
144. Dr P K Prasadan, Professor in Botany, University of Calicut, Kerala
145. Dr P Pramod, Sr. Scientist, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Anaikatty, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu
146. Dr P Sujanapal, Scientist, Department of Silviculture, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi, Trichur, Kerala
147. Dr P N Jha, Former Vice Chancellor, Rajendra Agriculture University, Pusa, Bihar
148. Dr Parthiba Basu, Associate Professor, Department of Zoology & Director, Centre for Pollination Studies, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, West Bengal
149. Dr Partho Sarothi Ray, Assistant Professor and Wellcome Trust-DBT India Alliance Intermediate Fellow, Department of Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata, West Bengal
150. Dr Ponnammal Natarajan, Retd. Dean, Anna University, Tamilnadu
151. Dr Prabha Yadav Bhogaonkar, Expert in Angiosperm taxonomy, Ethno botany and Environment, President of Wildlife & Environment Conservation Society (WECS) (Amravati), Retd. Director of Government Vidharbha Institute of Science and Humanities, Amravati, Maharashtra
152. Dr Prabhakar Gadre, Research Officer, Rajwade Sanshodan Mandal, Dhule, Maharashtra
153. Dr Prachinkumar, Assistant Professor, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
154. Dr Pradeepkumar P.I., Associate Professor of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Maharashtra
155. Dr Priti Joshi, Botanist, Director, National Organisation for Community Welfare, Wardha, Maharashtra
156. Dr R B Thakare, Geneticist, Vice President Bharat Krishak samaj, Maharashtra.
157. Dr R G Panickar, Prof. of Zoology (Retd), M. S. University of Baroda, Baroda, Gujarat
158. Dr R Jayaraj, Scientist, Division of Forest Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Thrissur, Kerala
159. Dr R K Kohli, Vice Chancellor, DAV University, Jalandhar, Punjab
160. Dr R K P Singh, Retd. Professor, Rajendra Agriculture University, Pusa & Presently working at ICRA Patna, Bihar
161. Dr R P Yadav, Head of Department, Entomology, Rajendra Agriculture University, Pusa, Bihar
162. Dr R S Raghu, Agronomist, Former Dean, College of Agriculture, Madhya Pradesh
163. Dr R V Varma, Entomologist, Former Chairman,Kerala State Biodiversy Board and Former Head, Department of Entomology, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi, Trichur, Kerala
164. Dr Rajasekhar G, Agriculture Scientist, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
165. Dr Rajashree Ray, IISc, Bangalore, Karnataka
166. Dr Rajasri Das, Research Associate, Centre for Ecological Studies, Indian Inst of Science, Bangalore, Karnataka
167. Dr Rajeswari Sarala Raina, Scientist, National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies (NISTADS – CSIR), New Delhi
168. Dr Rajinder Kumar, Dept of Human Biology, Punjabi University, Patiala, Punjab
169. Dr Rajneesh Arora, Vice Chancellor, Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, Punjab
170. Dr Ram C Chaudhary, Chairman, Partcipatory Rural Development Foundation, Gorakhpur, UP and Ex- Rice Breeder, GBPUAT Panthnagar, IRRI Plant Breeder, Rice Specialist, The World Bank
171. Dr Rama V Baru, Professor, Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
172. Dr Ranvir Singh, Public Health Expert and Independent Researcher, New Delhi
173. Dr Rashmi Choubey, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
174. Dr Rekha A Nair M.D (Path), Additional Professor of Pathology, Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
175. Dr Ritu Priya, MBBS, Ph.D. Professor & Chair, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
176. Dr Robert B Grubh, Ornithologist, Director Institution for Restoration of Natural Environment, Former Deputy Director, Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, Maharashtra
177. Dr Rudraradhya, Retd Senior Plant Breeder, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka
178. Dr S C Deshmukh, Agronomist, Former Chief Scientist, JNKVV, Madhya Pradesh
179. Prof S C Santra, Professor & ENVIS Coordinator, Department of Environmental Science, University of Kalyani, Nadia, West Bengal
180. Dr S G Vombatkere, Engineering, Retd. Major General, Indian Army, Mysore, Karnataka
181. Dr S K Gautam , Plant Breeder, CEO, Omni agrisystems & Managements Pvt Ltd, New Delhi
182. Dr S N Prasad, Senior Principal Scientist, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Anaikatty, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu
183. Dr S R Sharma, Agronomist, Former Cane Commissioner ,Govt of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
184. Prof S Chatterjee, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore, Karnataka
185. Dr S Jeevananda Reddy, Formerly Chief Technical Advisor – WMO/UN & Expert FAO/UN Fellow, Andhra Pradesh Academy of Sciences, Convenor, Forum for a Sustainable Environment, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
186. Dr S Ramdoss, Associate Professor, Dept of criminology, University of Madras, Chennai, Tamilnadu
187. Dr S Sankar, Programme Coordinator (Forestry and Human dimension), Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi, Trichur, Kerala
188. Dr S Somasundaram, Research Associate, Green Future Foundation, New Delhi
189. Dr Sagari R Ramdas, Veterinary Scientist and Animal Breeding and Geneticist, Director, Anthra, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
190. Dr Sanjay Kumar, Associate Professor in Physics, St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, New Delhi
191. Dr Santhi, Ecologist, Trivandrum, Kerala
192. Dr Santosh M. Tungare, Environmental Chemistry Expert, Mumbai, Maharashtra
193. Dr Sarala Panickar, Entomologist (Retd), Kerala Agriculture University, Kerala
194. Dr Sasikumar Menon, Drug Toxicology and Molecular Techniques Expert, Institute for Advanced Research in Interdisciplinary Sciences, Mumbai, Maharashtra
195. Dr Satnam Singh, Agriculture Scientist, Ajnala, Amritsar, Punjab
196. Dr Seema Javed, Environmental Chemistry, New Delhi
197. Dr Seema Purushothaman, Professor (Development Studies) at Azim Premji University, Bangalore, Karnataka
198. Dr Sehajpal, Dept. of Micro Biology, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab
199. Dr Shaila Wagh, Child Health Care Expert, Mumbai, Maharashtra
200. Dr Shaji, Fisheries Expert, Formerly Scientist, Kerala State Biodiversity Board, Kerala
201. Dr Shaju Thomas, Professor and Head, Department of Zoology, Nirmalagiri College, Muvatupuzha; Kerala
202. Dr Shalini Sharma, Environment and Development Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati, Assam.
203. Dr Shambhu, Potato Research Station, Patna, Bihar
204. Prof Shambu Prasad, Science, Technology and Society Studies expert, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
205. Dr Shantilal Kothari, President of Academy of Nutrition Improvement, Nagpur, Maharashtra
206. Dr Sharad Lele, Bangalore, Karnataka
207. Dr Shashikala Gurpur, Director, Symbiosis Law School, Pune,Dean, Faculty of Law, SIU, Instructor: Masters Course on Biotechnology Law, Pune, Maharashtra
208. Dr Shefali Bharti, Environment Scientist, Podar International School, Mumbai, Maharashtra
209. Dr Shree Ram Padmadeo, HoD, Botany & Coordinator Department of Biotechnology, Patna University, Patna, Bihar
210. Dr Shri Ram Parihar, Principal, Govt. Girls Postgraduate College, Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh
211. Dr Soma Sundar Marla, Principal Scientist (Bio-Informatics) and Member, Task Force DBT, NBPGR, ICAR, New Delhi
212. Dr Srijit P, Asst Professor, Dept of Zoology, University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
213. Prof Sudarshan Iyengar, Vice Chancellor, Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
214. Dr Sudha Vasan, Enviornmental Sociology, Associate professor, Dept of Sociology, University of Delhi, New Delhi
215. Dr Suhas Kolhekar, Molecular Biologist, Convenor, National Alliance for People’s Movements, Maharashtra
216. Dr Sujata Goel, Molecular Biologist, WAPRED, Madikeri, Karnataka
217. Dr Sujatha Byravan, Geneticist, Chennai, Tamilnadu
218. Dr Sujay Basu, Former Professor, Jadavpur University, Calcutta. Vice-Chairperson, State Council of Biotechnology, West Bengal
219. Dr Sujoy K. Das Gupta, Professor, Dept. Of Microbiology, Bose Institute, Kolkata, West Bengal.
220. Dr Sukhdev Kundu, Associate Professor, Dept of Environmental Science , DAV University, Jalandhar, Punjab
221. Dr Sultan Ahmed Ismail, Expert in Soil Ecology, Biology and Ecology of Earthworms, Former Head of the Department of Biotechnology of The New College, Chennai. Presently MD Ecoscience Research Foundation, Chennai, Tamilnadu
222. Dr Suman Sahai, Geneticist, Chairperson, Gene Campaign, New Delhi
223. Dr Surendra C. Thakurdesai, Head & Associate Professor, P.G. Department of Rural Development, Jogalekar College, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra
224. Dr Suresh Verma, Retired Principal, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh
225. Prof T K Ghose, Bose Institute, Kolkata, West Bengal
226. Dr T K Maqbool, Professor in Zoology, Calicut University, Kerala
227. Dr T N Vijayakumar, President, Malabar Natural History Society, Calicut, Kerala
228. Prof T Pradeep, IIT Madras (Chemistry, Materials, Nanoscience and Nanotechnology), Chennai
229. Dr T S Channesh, Science journalist and columnist, Bangalore, Karnataka (formerly, Fellow at Karnataka State Council for S & T, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Head of Department of History of Sciences, Kannada University, Hampi. Research Director, MCC Centre for Scientific Research and Advanced Learning, Bangalore. Scientist, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, University of Agricultural Sciences, Chintamani)
230. Dr T V Sajeev, Scientist (Entomologist), Forest Health, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Thrissur, Kerala
231. Dr Tarak Kate, Biologist, Chairman, Dharamitra (an Eco-Technology Resource Centre for Sustainable Development), Wardha, Maharashtra
232. Dr Tenneti Madhu, Principal, Swarnandhra Institute of technology and Engineering, Narsapur, Andhra Pradesh
233. Dr Thara K G, Head, Disaster Management Centre, Institute of Land and Disaster Management, Govt of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
234. Dr Thomas Varghese, Soil Scientist (Retd.), Kerala Agriculture University, Ex-Chairman, Kerala State Agriculture Prices Board, Kerala
235. Dr Uma J Vinod, Scientist (Conservation and Research on Ornithology and Wildlife), Crow Foundation, Palakkad, Kerala
236. Prof Umesh Mishra, Retired Professor of Physics, Sharda Colony, Brahmapuri, Distt. Chandrapur, Maharashtra
237. Dr Usha Balram, Professor and Head (Retd.), Dept of Zoology, All Saints College, Trivandrum, Kerala
238. Dr Utkarsh Ghate, Agri-business expert, Covenant Centre for Development, Durg, Chhattisgarh
239. Dr V N Shroff, Genetics and Plant Breeding, Former Dean, College of Agriculture, JNKVV, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
240. Prof V R Raghunandanan, Associate Professor and Head of the Department, Department of Diary Science, College of Dairy Science and Technology, Kerala Veterinary and Animal Science University, Mannuthy; Trichur, Kerala
241. Dr V T Sundaramurthy, Entomologist & Formerly Project Coordinator, All India Coordinated Cotton Improvement Project (ICAR), Coimbatore, Tamilnadu
242. Dr V V Robin, Fellow, National Centre for biological Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka
243. Dr Valsaladevi G, Curator, Dept of Botany, University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
244. Dr Vanaja Ramprasad, Founding Director of Foundation for Genetic Resource, Energy, Ecology and Nutrition, Former Board member of International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movement, Bangalore, Karnataka
245. Dr Vandana Shiva, Navdanya and Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Environment, New Delhi
246. Dr Venkatesh Krishnamurthy, Dr B.C Roy Awardee, Chairman and Founder of NU Hospitals, Bangalore, Karnataka
247. Dr Vibha Taluja, Chemist , Scientists for Ecology & Safe Food, Chandigarh, Punjab
248. Dr Vijaya Venkat, Health Activist, Nutritionist, pioneer in Natural Living, Founder of The Health Awareness Centre, Mumbai, Maharashtra
249. Dr W R Deshpandey, Former Joint Director, Extension. JNKVV, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
250. Dr Yuvasenthilkumar R, Asst Professor Horticulture, Vanavaryar Institute of Agriculture, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu
251. Dr Zakir Hussain, Agriculture Scientist, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

Govt betrays the nation on Earth Day! Tables deeply flawed (Biotech Regulatory Authority of India) BRAI Bill

Bill introduced despite trenchant opposition within and outside the Parliament

New Delhi, 23rd April 2013: The Coalition for a GM-Free India expressed deep disappointment at the Government’s action of sneaking in the controversial Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill 2013, in Parliament today (22nd April, 2013) despite strong opposition from parliamentarians, scientists, civil society groups and other analysts to this controversial and unacceptable Bill. This Bill, dubbed as a “wrong bill by the wrong people for wrong reasons” in its various versions has been extremely controversial due to provisions facilitating the biotechnology industry at the expense of public good. Further, the Bill’s flawed approach to regulation in trying to create a single window clearing house for products of modern biotechnology, instead of an express mandate to protect and uphold biosafety given the acknowledged risks of modern biotechnology, has been opposed time and again.

“As we have reiterated on numerous occasions, the Bill is steeped in conflict of interest as the Ministry promoting biotechnology is about to house the regulator; it undermines the federal polity of our nation by overriding the authority of state governments, even though Agriculture is a State Subject as per the Indian Constitution. It also attempts to circumvent the right to information and transparency laws and is focussed on creating a three member technocratic, undemocratic and centralised decision making body. As the Bt brinjal moratorium decision shows us, even a more broad-based regulatory body had gone wrong with its decision-making – why can’t the government learn lessons from the past and aspire for a progressive legislation in the interest of Indian citizens and environment, rather than promote corporate interests?” said Sridhar Radhakrishnan, Convener of the Coalition.

The problems with this technology particularly in our food and farming systems, where the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are released into the environment are widely known and documented. “The Bill overlooks the ever-increasing evidence on the impacts of GMOs on human health, biodiversity and socioeconomic aspects and lacks any scientific independent, long term assessment to look at the safety as well as the very need of GMOs before their open release. This bill is anti-farmer and anti-consumer; if passed, it will only result in people losing control over food choices and seed sovereignty. The bill should be withdrawn”, asserted Pankaj Bhushan the Co-Convener of the Coalition.

The introduction of this Bill at this juncture is all the more shocking and unacceptable, given the following recommendation from the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture which studied the subject in detail and presented its report to the Parliament in August 2012:

The Government have been for some years now toying with the idea of a Biotechnology Regulatory Authority. The Committee feel that regulating biotechnology is too small a focus in the vast canvas of biodiversity, environment, human and livestock health, etc. and a multitude of other such related issues. They have, therefore, already recommended in a previous Chapter setting up of an all encompassing Bio-safety Authority through an Act of Parliament, which is extensively discussed and debated amongst all stakeholders, before acquiring shape of the law. Unless and until such an authority is in place, any further movement in regard to transgenics in agriculture crops will obviously be fraught with unknown consequences. (Section 8.120)

Analysing the lacunae of the existing regulation and studying the proposed Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India, the Standing Committee said the following: “In such a situation what the Country needs is not a biotechnology regulatory legislation but an all encompassing umbrella legislation on biosafety which is focused on ensuring the biosafety, biodiversity, human and livestock health, environmental protection and which specifically describes the extent to which biotechnology, including modern biotechnology, fits in the scheme of things without compromising with the safety of any of the elements mentioned above”.

The Coalition for a GM-Free India strongly urges that Parliamentarians cutting across the political spectrum should respond to this retrograde and anti-people bill and prevent the control over our food and seed by a few biotechnology majors. Discussing the Bill in a limited context of a Standing Committee on Science & Technology would not suffice, given the large potential impact of the issue at hand.

We demand that the government show its sensitivity to the broad based opposition by withdrawing the bill. We urge Parliamentarians to ask forcirculation to elicit response and understand the importance and need to set up a Joint Committee in this current instance (ideally headed by the Chairperson of the Agriculture Standing Committee, given its deep links to farmers’ livelihoods, an issue pertaining to the largest number of Indians).

www.indiagminfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/BRAI-critique-coalition-for-gm-free-india.pdf has a detailed critique of the Govt’s BRAI Bill.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Sridhar Radhakrishnan: 9995358205

Pankaj Bhushan : 9472999999

“Biodiversity and Biosafety key to Food Security"

“TRANSGENICS WILL NOT MEET OUR FOOD SECURITY NEEDS”

National Seminar on GM Crops and Food Security asks for a Biosafety Law to be enacted

New Delhi / Ahmedabad, February 15, 2013: The 2-day national seminar on “GM Crops and Food Security” jointly organized by Jatan Trust, Gujarat Vidyapith and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh concluded in Ahmedabad today by calling for a Biosafety Law to be enacted in the country. Speakers emphasized on Biodiversity and Biosafety being key to food security of the country, whereas the current aggressive promotion of transgenic crops is jeopardizing this.

Speaking on democratizing the debate and decision-making around GM crops, Kartikeya Sarabhai of CEE (Centre for Environment Education) pointed out that debate on GM crops cannot be just about production and yields, and that the discourse around food security as well as GM crops has moved on. “The debate on GM crops is around sustainability of farm livelihoods, sustainable use of environmental resources, control over critical resources like seed resting with community, farmers and consumers having a choice, socio-cultural and ethical issues to be addressed and so on. Talking about GM crops only in the context of improving yields is inadequate and inappropriate”. He stressed upon the need for an informed debate in which all citizens should be able to engage, since this is a matter pertaining to something as fundamental as Food. He pointed out that creating a debate is not about being “anti-science”, but asking for holistic science. A multi-disciplinary approach, which includes social sciences, is needed, since this is about livelihoods and development, he stressed. He called for independent studies and said that research approvals should be conditional on making the findings public.

Earlier inaugurating the seminar, Sri Mohini Mohan Mishra, National Secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, said that in all his travels across the country and meeting farmers, he has realised that they aspire for their control over the very basic resources of farming – soil, water and seed. “In BKS, we believe that India does not need GM crops. Unfortunately, farmers have become victim of glorified propaganda of the Biotech industry. It is a pity that today non-Bt Seeds of Cotton are not available in the market”, he said.

Dr M H Mehta, former VC of Gujarath Agriculture University (GAU) and Chair of Science Ashram, speaking at the seminar, stressed on the need for focusing on economical and environmental friendly model of agriculture to feed the hungry. This will need an agro-ecological approach and not a GM crop based model. He pointed out that while science and technology need to be encouraged, any technology needs to be holistically viewed and best online casino the overall consideration of public good and wisdom must prevail.

Explaining how woefully inadequate the GM crop risk assessment is in India, Dr Suman Sahai of Gene Campaign pointed out that our testing systems are simply not stringent enough and even the prescribed procedures are not followed by the companies or universities. Many scientific studies, including the ones conducted by the biotech companies themselves have shown adverse impacts on health and environment. In India, when the biosafety data of Bt brinjal was brought into the public domain, the inadequacy of the tests and the carelessness of the scientists doing the research, and the regulators reviewing biosafety came to the fore. This is not the way to do science, she stated.

Dr Sudarshan Iyengar, Vice Chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith, presenting a fact sheet on issues related to Food Security in India, emphasized that there is enough evidence to say confidently that if land use planning is rationalized, land ownership issues are resolved, appropriate agronomical practices are introduced, nature’s own resources are used as farm inputs, the world can produce enough for the growing population.

Speaking on “Science & Technology for Food Security”, Dr Rajeswari Raina of NISTADS (National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies, which is a science policy institute of CSIR) pointed out that what we need is “good science”. She explained that ‘good science’ is one that works towards economic, ecological and social progress, something that can tell us whether the existing evidence is enough or not, in terms of risk and impact assessment related to technologies like GM, in addition to giving due recognition and space to other knowledge domains and cultural values that ‘formal science’ has not studied thus far.

Sridhar Radhakrishnan, Convenor of the Coalition for a GM-Free India, said, “Transgenic technology is an unnecessary risk and costly distraction, while solutions for issues in our farming lie elsewhere. In the name of public sector research, resources are being mis-utilised, while something inherently unsafe will remain unsafe, whether it is from the private sector or the public sector”.

Dr Minoo Parabia, renowned botanist, biodiversity expert and Member of State Biodiveristy Board made a presentation on the rich biodiversity of Gujarat, including agro-diversity and expressed caution against transgenics. Dr Atul Mehta, senior rice breeder pointed out that while GM crops are being aggressively pushed, need assessment is sadly lacking, by presenting data of past 50 years to show that pest incidence (stemborer) on rice was low even though corporations are trying to push Bt rice as a solution for a problem that does not exist.

Speaking on the faulty framework of the proposed Biosafety Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill, Kavitha Kuruganti of ASHA showcased how improvements in the regulatory regime over the years will be lost if BRAI Bill is allowed to be enacted. “Sustained civil society action, including judicial activism, in addition to the Bt brinjal public debate led by Mr Jairam Ramesh, the then MoEF, brought in some improvements; through the BRAI Bill, the Government of India is trying to lower the regulatory bar which is objectionable and unacceptable”, she said.

Earlier, latest scientific evidence related to adverse impacts of GM crops were shared by Rajesh Krishnan of Greenpeace India. The Seminar also had presentations from the Biotech seed industry representatives, who presented on Bt Cotton in India and GM crop adoption in other countries. Participants of the seminar also included senior scientists from agriculture universities of the state, civil society members, seed and food industry representatives, members of various farmers’ unions and government officials, in addition to Members of the State Biodiversity Board.

For more information, contact:

Kapil Shah: 094-270-54132

Sridhar Radhakrishnan: 099-953-58205

Kavitha Kuruganti: 09393001550

Mark Lynas & his support of GM crops – Much ado about nothing!

This note has been prepared in the context of the absolutely vested and purposefully planted story of Mark Lynas and his Confession. The Coalition for GM Free India sees this as a distraction, from the real debate on GM crops and its impacts, and its disturbing to see that even a section of the media fell for this trap. This note is to set right the facts on this matter.

Introduction:
• Mark Lynas made a speech on January 3rd, 2013 claiming that he has changed his mind about GM crops and he now supports GM crops.
• In his speech he claims to have “helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s”- the claim “helped start” is farfetched and doesn’t stand to scrutiny, considering that the anti GM movement in UK and Europe began earlier in the 1980s, and much of the initial work began in the 1970s. They began building coalitions in the late 1980s across countries and continents. Books by activists on the GE problems began to be published in the 1980s. The movement was founded on sound science, path-breaking intellectual work, writings and commitment of groups and individuals on both sides of the Atlantic.
• In India, Lynas speech made its first appearance in IE. The IE article, which disingenuously calls him “voice of the anti-GM campaign”, and calls him “one of the earliest campaigners against GM crops in Europe”, which is complete hyperbole, as it would have been impossible for him as a boy or a teenager to initiate the European anti GM campaign! Also the European anti-GM campaign and the UK anti-GM campaign are different entities.
• In that article, done through an email interview, Lynas claims to “having been part of the campaign, as part of which he coordinated with Indian NGOs, in the process taking the fear of GM crops to India”, yet another tall claim with absolutely no substance. The Indian movement to keep India free of GM crops has had no connection with Mark Lynas; in fact many in the movement have come across his name for the first time after this Oxford speech.

Background:
• His public profiles on Wikipedia, Guardian paper and elsewhere carry his identity and profile as a climate activist, no where is he cited as an anti-GM activist.
• According to his profile he holds a Degree in History and Politics
• His utterances on GM seem to have come only after his much publicised conversion to becoming a supporter of GM crops.
• His first published articles supporting GM crops were published in the New Statesman, UK in January 2010, i.e. 3 years ago! His book “God Species: How the Planet can Survive the Age of Humans” (on climate change), was published in 2011. So this stance supporting GM crops is nothing new or newsworthy.
• In 2010 he appeared in a documentary telecast in Channel 4 called the “What the greens got wrong” (where he spoke in support of nuclear power) and he has been supportive of nuclear energy and GM crops since then. So, this “conversion” is not new, and has been re-invented now with some ulterior motive.

Interesting information from 2011 :
• The Guardian paper reported on a leaked document from the PR agency working for EuropaBio, the most wealthy and influential lobby group for GM crops in Europe (funded by Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow etc). The leaked memo showed that EuropaBio was looking for GM Ambassadors whose task would be to create a positive image about GMOs. The PR firm document says “The most important factor in terms of ensuring the legitimacy and impact of this programme is the quality of the ambassadors and the breadth of positions represented and numbers involved. Provided that a sufficiently strong pool of ambassadors is established – we are very confident that this will be the case – then it will be very difficult for anybody to make the claim that these ambassadors are somehow ‘in the pocket’ of the agricultural science companies.” (‘Biotech group bids to recruit high-profile GM ambassadors’).

• In the draft letter to potential Ambassadors one of the names mentioned for “potential involvement” is Mark Lynas, and as expected, he has denied it. It is interesting to note that the biotech lobby considers him a promising figure to promote their views since 2011, so what is new?

• About EuropaBio: It is the most influential and powerful biotech lobbying group based in Brussels and focused on lobbying in Europe for GM crops. Their corporate members list includes who is who of the biotech industry (Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, Dow and so on).

The speech:

• Mark Lynas speech at the Oxford farming conference was riddled with inaccuracies and consisted of a series of unsubstantiated broad sweeping statements. He has claimed that he opposed GM in ignorance; this speech makes it clear that his support is also based on the same or greater level of ignorance.

• Below are a sample of responses from reputed scientists, social scientists and ecologists on this speech, which reveals the lack of understanding and depth of the speech. Many more such responses are available :
o Dr.Brian John , Past lecturer,University of Durham- he Lynas School of pseudo-scientific environmentalism -Twenty-two pieces of junk science from the Lynas Manifesto
o Dr.Doug Gurian Sherman , A plant pathologist at Union for Concerned Scientists – Lies, dogma and Mark Lynas
o Prof. John Vandermeer, Professor, Dept of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology – challenges Mark Lynas on GMOs
o Tom Philpott, Writer on food and agriculture , Enviro-cusader turns Pro-GMO, Anti-organic and anti-logic

• Lynas has not responded with science, references or arguments to any of these contentions, as is the case with his original speech as well.

• Why has such an unscientific speech of a conversion of an individual to believing in GM crops attracted such wide circulation, while peer reviewed science that has revealed the problems with GMOs face attacks ? The answer lies in the question – if you support GM crops, you are paraded as a trophy, if you find problems with GM crops, you are tarnished and your professional reputation destroyed.

• The biotech industry has taken the lead in promoting this piece, it is on the front page of all biotech lobby sites and being promoted assiduously.

Does Lynas or this red herring of an individual’s change of views have any relevance in the Indian context? – Yes & No

• The efforts of some members of the Indian media to accept his assertions without any critical questioning, probably in their efforts to further GM, and the consequent spread of half truths necessitates this note.

• As an individual Lynas has a right to take a stance and an individual’s stance does not mean the end of a movement or debate. His stance has absolutely no bearing on the global movement against GM crops or the Indian movement to keep the country GM free. No individual however highly placed can end a movement, and if the individual has had no significant place in the movement the question of discussing his exit does not even arise (particularly two years after he has changed sides !!).

• The movement against GM crops and  movements to take sufficient precautions before introducing them into the environment is based on scientific, ecological, socio-economic considerations and issues of fundamental choice about food and farming. It realises that GM is an imprecise, irreversible, uncontrollable living technology which is neither needed nor safe. It is based on facts, scientific evidence, socio-economic realities and ecological and health impacts.

• In the Indian context the timing of this has been carefully chosen because the biotech industry lobby promoting GM crops has been on the back foot since the unanimous report of the Parliamentary Committee which has exposed the hollowness of the GM claims (and asked for a moratorium and investigations into many issues) and the SC TEC interim report has also seen fit to call for a moratorium. This is part of the industry’s effort to try to influence the final report of the SC TEC by PR agencies going into over drive to get some pro-biotech media coverage. Lynas is not a scientist; he has not come up with any new studies or findings, and has merely repeated some of the oft repeated claims by the biotech industry.

In conclusion, this Mark Lynas episode is simply a well-planted distraction from the genuine and highly critical debate that is taking place on the issue of GM crops across Europe, US, Asia, South America and Africa. Wherever GM crops have been adopted, serious environmental and in some cases health problems are being experienced and hence public objections, and where there is pressure for introduction, there is strong public opposition. Mark Lynas is simply a distraction in this debate. However, the sad reality is that many media houses ran after a story like this rather than engage honestly with the issue. Of course many of them have in the process harmed their own reputation by doing blatantly one-sided stories in their rush to help the biotech industry.

Released in Public Interest by Coalition for a GM-Free India
www.indiagminfo.org
email : indiagmfree(at)gmail.com
For contacts – Sridhar Radhakrishnan (09995358205), mail.thanal(at)gmail.com
Sreedevi Lekshmikutty – l_sreedevi(at)rediffmail.com

Letter from Civil Society Organisations on Improving current regulation and implementing a robust regulatory mechanism for GM crops to ensure biosafety

New Delhi

2nd January 2013

To:

Ms. Jayanti Natarajan
Minister for State for Environment & Forests (Independent Charge)
Paryavaran Bhavan, CGO Complex,
Lodi Estate, New Delhi.

Dear Madam,

Re: Improving current regulation and implementing a robust regulatory mechanism for GM crops to ensure biosafety

Greetings! And Happy New Year Wishes !

This is with regard to the first report of the Technical Expert Committee (TEC) in the Supreme Court PIL on GMOs. We are deeply dismayed that the Ministry of Environment & Forests has been reported to have not backed the recommendations of a Committee of independent experts (whose expertise in safety assessment is invaluable) jointly constituted by itself and the petitioner of the PIL, Ms. Aruna Rodrigues. The matter in question is the impact on biosafety from the deployment of modern biotechnological tools like transgenics.

Your Ministry, which has the authority and responsibility to ensure biosafety and protect biodiversity, instead of taking the lead in this matter, appears to have abdicated its responsibility and let other departments and Ministries, whose role is to promote biotechnology, to seize the initiative with regard to this critical issue under your purview. This is apparent from the affidavit filed by the Ministry of Agriculture’s Joint Secretary (Seeds), on behalf of Union of India. This is indeed unfortunate and unacceptable.

• Prior to the SC TEC report, the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Agriculture tabled its report on GM crops on August 9th, 2012. It is not a coincidence that both these reports have raised similar concerns. In addition to looking at problems with open air field trials, the TEC report has raised the issue of conflict of interest within the regulator, the problems with Bt food crops, the threats from HT crops in the Indian context and the fundamental requirement of need assessment for GM products/crops before they are introduced into the environment.

• Open air field trials of untested and unknown organisms is indeed a problem, given that Genetic Engineering is an imprecise, irreversible and uncontrollable living technology. Over and above the challenge of this living technology, the regulatory regime in the country has proven itself incapable and apathetic towards protection of biosafety during such trials. Numerous instances of violations are in the notice of your Ministry and the Supreme Court, starting from the way Bt cotton began to be cultivated in this country before formal regulatory approval was granted.

• Lack of institutional mechanisms for monitoring, violations of rules, instances of contamination, lack of sufficient protocols and their oversight, use of illegal GMOs, lack of a liability regime and absence of any policy directives before entertaining transgenic applications are among the glaring lacunae afflicting the regulation of GM crops, right from the time field trials were first allowed within the country. There is an overall acknowledgement about the need for improvement on the regulatory front, including by the Chairperson of GEAC, in various fora.

• To that extent, as the only Ministry holding the regulatory mandate, it is only expected that the MoEF will do its best to make the regulatory regime robust, credible, independent of conflict of interest and adopt a precautionary approach as it has done in the case of Bt brinjal. It is therefore quite unexpected that this did not happen on November 9th 2012, during the last hearing of the Supreme Court in the matter.

• The PSC report and the TEC’s first report come at a critical juncture. In 2011 and 2012 alone, we brought to your notice several glaring violations related to biosafety during open-air field trials. No satisfactory response was forthcoming from the regulators.

• The facetious arguments being bandied about by GM crop promoters about GM crops being essential to ensure food security is merely unscientific scare-mongering and that should not deter the Ministry from taking up the all-important task of putting in place a robust regulatory mechanism. As you would agree with us, food security is more than just production of more food, as the paradox of overflowing godowns/rotting food grains and growing hunger in India shows. Further, even on the supply side, productivity improvements can be achieved through many means other than GMOs.

• We would like to bring to your notice that GM crops, particularly BT and HT crops, are not meant to increase yield. This has been unequivocally established time and again in the United States, the largest purveyor of GM crops. In the US, only 3-4% of yield increase in Bt corn is being attributed to GM technology by experts, and even this happens in years of high pest infestation. Further, in the case of GM soy, there have been no significant yield improvements despite the high adoption of GM soy. The herbicide-tolerant gene in GM soy provided no yield gains. The engineered gene in GM drought tolerant corn is estimated to increase productivity by only around 1.2%.

• In the Indian context the Director of CICR has said that Bt cotton is not the sole or main cause for yield improvements in cotton and that not even bollworm incidence coming down can be attributed to Bt cotton and therefore, yields cannot be because of Bt technology (relevant extracts attached as an Annexure). Even according to IFPRI, Bt cotton has not significantly contributed to yield increase in cotton in India. Their study shows that, “Bt cotton contributed 19 percent of total yield growth over time, or between 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent per percentage adoption every year since its introduction. Besides Bt cotton, the use of fertilizer and the increased adoption of hybrid seeds appear to have contributed to the yield increase over time.”

• On the other hand, problems abound with GM crops; ‘super weeds’ (glyphosate-resistant or herbicide-resistant weeds) have infested over 15 million acres in the USA. There has been a cumulative increase in pesticide use by about 174 million kg even though GM crops are often promoted as pesticide-reducing crops. The GM industry’s answer to this crisis is new herbicide resistant crops that are designed to use older and even more toxic herbicides. Development of resistance in target insects to GM crops has been demonstrated by several recent studies and reports from the fields also substantiate this.

In response to the oft-repeated claim that GM crops are needed for India’s food security, we would like to point out that global reports of repute like IAASTD , and the statement of the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food have come to the conclusion that small-holder farming based on agro-ecological principles with good stewardship of land and other resources is the most effective way to eliminate hunger and enhance food security and availability. Techno-fixes like GM crops do not have a role in enhancing food security. This is also evident from the GM crops and traits extensively grown; most of the area under GM crops is commodity crops (cotton, soybean, corn) and they are used for industrial use and animal feed, apart from more than half of America’s corn going into fuelling automobiles!

We understand and recognize the importance of science and technology in nation building; however the basic principle of introducing any risky and controversial technology into a society should be based on a rigorous, independent assessment of its very need. An inherently risky, short-lived and irreversible technology like GM crops, tied up in complicated IPRs seeking to control seed and food chains clearly doesn’t pass muster. On the contrary it is forcing farmers into a treadmill of constant upgradation and higher expenditure – thereby jeopardizing both food security and farmer livelihood stability. Evidence to this effect is emerging from developing countries of South America – food security parameters like calories/person/day are actually declining in countries like Brazil and Paraguay (two countries which have more than 40% of their agriculture under GM crops) while countries like Peru (that have not adopted GM crops) are posting improvements in food security.

On the other hand, ecologically-based farming methods reduce environmental impacts, water, fertilizer and pesticide use. Evidence is coming in from the world over about the efficacy of agro-ecological approaches, the latest is a report from government scientists and researchers in the US who have established that sustainable farming methods can increase yield at zero cost. In India, there is evidence that agro-ecological approaches not only give similar or better yields than conventional technologies but also reduce input costs, use less water and energy, increasing net returns for farmers. The Andhra Pradesh experience of ecological farming on a large scale of 3.5 million acres clearly demonstrates that this does not burden the taxpayer whereas chemical/GM-based farming involves huge subsidies.
India is a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity and you are its Chair for the next two years. The TEC and PSC have invoked the precautionary principle as the guiding principle for their recommendations and pointed to India being a signatory of CBD. In this context it behooves upon the Government of India and particularly the Ministry for Environment & Forests under your leadership to take the lead to set up a model regulatory mechanism for dealing with GM crops.

We, the undersigned, therefore appeal to you to seize this opportunity being provided by the two reports (PSC report and the TEC report) to build a robust, biosafety protection mechanism that would ensure sufficient precaution, due oversight, adequate testing, independent evaluation and stringent monitoring of GM crops with an appropriate liability & redressal regime in place, in addition to need assessment and a holistic impact assessment governing the regulation, going beyond biosafety.

Yours sincerely,

(List of Signatories appended below)

S.No., Name, Affiliation, State
1 Balaji Seshadri Research Associate, Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation, University of South Australia —
2 Carmen Miranda Chair, Save Goa Campaign, UK —
3 N. V. Subbarow Research & Education Officer, Consumers Association Of Penang (Cap), Malaysia —
4 Dr. G.V. Ramanjaneyalu Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Hyderabad Andhra Pradesh
5 Capt. J. Rama Rao I. N. (Retd) Advisor, Forum for Sustainable Development, Hyderabad Andhra Pradesh
6 Jasveen Jairath Save Our Urban Lakes, Hyderabad Andhra Pradesh
7 Dr. K. Babu Rao Convener, Movement for People Centred Development Andhra Pradesh
8 Kirankumar Vissa AID India Andhra Pradesh
9 Kunjam Pandu Dora Convenor, Adivasi Aikya Vedika Andhra Pradesh
10 Madhusudhan Yakshi, Hyderabad Andhra Pradesh
11 Narasimha Reddy Donthi Chetna Society Andhra Pradesh
12 Radha Gopalan Ph.D, Rishi Valley Education Centre, Rishi Valley, Madanapalle, Chittoor Andhra Pradesh
13 Dr. Sagari R. Ramdas Director, Anthra, Hyderabad Andhra Pradesh
14 Dr. A K Yadav RAU, Pusa, Samastipur Bihar
15 Akhilesh Kumar Swadeshi jagran Manch, Patna Bihar
16 Aneel Hegde Kisan Swaraj, Patna Bihar
17 Angina Prasad Farmers Club, West Champaran Bihar
18 Anil Kumar General Secretary, Kisan Majdoor Vikas Sangathan, Jehanabaad Bihar
19 Anita Singh Srikrishna Radhika Mahila Sangathan, Jehanabaad Bihar
20 Bandana Sharma Akanksha Seva Sadan, Muzaffarpur Bihar
21 Dr. D.M.Diwakar IMA, Physician, Patna Bihar
22 Jyoti Kumari Women’s Group, Patna Bihar
23 Kiran Ranjan General Secretary, JDU Bihar, Patna Bihar
24 Kumar Indubhushan National President, Akhil Bhartiya Rashtravaadi Kisan Sangathan, Ara Bihar
25 Lalji Prasad Patna Jila Salahkaar Samiti, Patna Bihar
26 Manoj Kumar Hitakaari krishak Club, Minapur, Muzaffarpur Bihar
27 Nagendra Singh Chairperson, Nalanda Bhartiya Kisan Morcha, Biharsharif (Nalanda) Bihar
28 Nitish Kumar World Record Grower Potato, Darveshpura, Nalanda Bihar
29 Pankaj Bhushan Tara Foundation Bihar
30 Parshuram Ojha Sriram Krishak Club, Koilwar, Ara Bihar
31 Prakash Bablu GM Free Bihar Movement, Patna Bihar
32 Dr. R.K.P.Singh ICRA, Patna Bihar
33 Dr. Ram Mohan Singh Doctor, Patna Bihar
34 Dr. Ramadhar Former IAS & Chairperson Bihar farmer Commission, Patna Bihar
35 Ramayan Singh Kisan Cell, Samajvaadi Janta Party, Siwan Bihar
36 Ramesh Kumar Chairman,GPSVS, Madhubani Bihar
37 Rampal Agrawal Nutan Rashtriya Goshala Sangathan Patna Bihar
38 Ravi Kamal Nikhil Rural Development Society, Patna Bihar
39 Rocky Kumar Sodhi Shere Bihar Organic Farmer Group Biharsharif, Nalanda Bihar
40 Dr. S.N.Rai M.S., Muzaffarpur Bihar
41 Dr. Shree Ram Padmadeo Tara Foundation, Patna Bihar
42 Srinivas Chaari Convener, Bihar Suchna Adhikar Manch, Patna Bihar
43 Sumanth Kumar World Record Grower, Paddy, Darveshpura, Nalanda Bihar
44 Suresh gupta Member, State Wild Life Board, Muzaffarpur Bihar
45 Suresh Singh General Secretary, Kisan Prakoshth Bihar, Patna Bihar
46 Surya Narain Singh Farmer’s Club, Aurangabaad Bihar
47 Vidya Bhushan Singh Harit Swaraj, Gopalganj Bihar
48 Vijay Kumar Gandhi Seva Ashram Jalalpur, Saran Bihar
49 Jacob Nellithanam Richharia Campaign Chhattisgarh
50 Ajay Mahajan VIVIDHARA Delhi
51 Gopal Krishna ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) Delhi
52 Jaya Iyer Vividhara and KHANA ( khadhya Nyaya Abhiyan), New Delhi Delhi
53 Krishan Bir Chaudhary President, Bharatiya Krishak Samaj, New Delhi Delhi
54 Nishank Secretariat Coordinator, Alliance For Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) Delhi
55 Rachna Arora Creator – Public Awareness on Genetically Modified Food Delhi
56 Renu Singh Secretariat Coordinator, Coalition for a GM Free India Delhi
57 Shalini Bhutani Legal Researcher Delhi
58 Shalini Bhutani Independent Legal Expert Delhi
59 Suresh Nautiyal Convener, Himalayan Peoples Forum Delhi
60 Suresh Nautiyal Board Member, Democracy International Delhi
61 Dr. Vandana Shiva Navdanya/Research Foundation for Science Technology & Ecology, New Delhi Delhi
62 Vijay Pratap Convenor, SADED Delhi
63 Abhijit Prabhudesai Organic Farmer Goa
64 Anand Mazagaenkar Co-ordinator, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Vadodara Gujarat
65 Ashok Bhargav Development Activist Gujarat
66 Dr. B.D.Damore Vice President, Indian National Congress Tribal Wing Gujarat
67 Babubhai Vaghela Secretary, Gujarat Kheti Vikas Parishad, Ahmedabad Gujarat
68 Badribhai Joshi Secretary, Gujarat Khedut Samaj, Tanachha Gujarat
69 Bharat Jambhuha Co-ordinator, People’s Learning Centre-Utthan, Bhavanagar Gujarat
70 Dr. Bharat Shah Trustee, Sarvodaya Parivar Trust, Dharampur, Ahmedabad Gujarat
71 Bhikhu Vyas Trustee, Vanpath Trust Gujarat
72 Chunibhai Vaidya President, Gujarat Lok Samiti Gujarat
73 Dhiru Mistry Secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Vadodara Gujarat
74 Ganpatbhai Gamit President, Gram Seva Samaj, Vyara Gujarat
75 Harshit Rughani Coordinator, Porbander Swimmers Club Gujarat
76 Ilaben Pathak President, Awaz, Ahmedabad Gujarat
77 Indukumar Jani Editor, Nayamarga, Ahmedabad Gujarat
78 Jagdish Shah Managing Trustee, Shivambu Chikitsa Sanshodhan Mandal Gujarat
79 Jagrut Gadit Volunteer, Vadodara Organic Consuner Group Gujarat
80 Kapil Mandawewala Sajeev Fresh, Organic Farmer, Jamnagar Gujarat
81 Kapil Shah Director, Jatan Trust – A Mission For Organic Farming, Vadodara Gujarat
82 Krishnakant Co-ordinator, Mithivirdi Anumukti Andolan Gujarat
83 Lalsing Parghi Sectretary , Bharatiya Adiwasi Sangamam(Westzone) Gujarat
84 Dr. Lataben Medical Professional Gujarat
85 Magandhai Patel President, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh(Gujarat Pradesh),Gandhinagar Gujarat
86 Mahendra Jethmalani Director, Patheya, Ahmedabad Gujarat
87 Mahesh Pandya Chairman, Paryavaran Mitra, Ahmedabad Gujarat
88 Manoj Solanki Trustee, Ramkrishna Trust, Kutch Gujarat
89 Manshukhbhai Suvagiya President, Jalkranti Trust, Rajkot Gujarat
90 Narayanbhai Desai President , Sampoorn Kranti Vidyalaya Vedachhee Gujarat
91 Neeta Hardikar Executive Director, Anandi, Devgadh Bariya Gujarat
92 Prafulbhai Senjahiga President, Mahagujrat Agri Cotton Company Ltd. Gujarat
93 Purvi Vyas Organic Farmer Gujarat
94 Rajni Dave Editor, Bhoomiputra, Vadodara Gujarat
95 Ramesh Sangavi President, Gram Swaraj Sangh, Kutch Gujarat
96 Rohit Prajapati Co-ordinator, Vadodara Kamdar Union, Vadodara Gujarat
97 Sanjay Dave Director, Charakha, Ahmedabad Gujarat
98 Sarvadaman Patel President, Organic Farming Association of India Gujarat
99 Shripal Shah Director, Asal, Ahmedabad Gujarat
100 Dr. Suren-Uma Gadekar Co-ordinator, Anoomukti Andolan Gujarat
101 Trupti Shah Trustee, Sahiyar Stree Sangathan, Vadodara Gujarat
102 Dr. Varsha Shah Managing Trustee, Koshish Milap Trust, Vadodara Gujarat
103 Vijay Shah Vice President, Satvik Promoting Ecological Agriculture Gujarat
104 Vinay-Charul Directors, Sandarbh Studies, Ahmedabad Gujarat
105 Yatri Baxi Co-ordinator, Paryavaran Santri, Ahmedabad Gujarat
106 Sunder Lal SCRIA, Khori Haryana
107 Siddharth Jaiswal Organic Farming Trainer, Ranchi Jharkhand
108 Maj Gen (Retd). S.G. Vombatkere Mysore Karnataka
109 Abhilash G.S. — Karnataka
110 Arvind Das Deccan Herald, Bangalore Karnataka
111 Arvind Shivakumar Greenpeace India, Bangalore Karnataka
112 Channabasappa Kombli President, Desi Cotton Growers Association, Haveri Karnataka
113 Deepa P.Gopinath Bangalore Karnataka
114 Dhanaraj Keezhara Painter and Artist, Bangalore Karnataka
115 Dr. Ashok Kundapur Environment & Energy Activist, Udupi Karnataka
116 G.Krishna Prasad Director, Sahaja Samrudha Organic Producer Company Ltd., Bangalore Karnataka
117 Haridevan A.V. Consultant, Greenpeace India, Bangalore Karnataka
118 Jaganmohan Rao Vangapelly Greenpeace India, Bangalore Karnataka
119 K. Anand Volunteer, Junglescapes Karnataka
120 Kavitha Kuruganti Alliance For Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) Karnataka
121 Neha Saigal Greenpeace India, Bangalore Karnataka
122 Pandurang Hegde Chipko-Appiko Movement, Sirsi Karnataka
123 R.Guruswamy Secretary. Kollegala Organic Farmers Association, Kollegala, Chamarajnagar Dist. Karnataka
124 Rajesh Krishnan Greenpeace India, Bangalore Karnataka
125 Shivayogi Makari Secretary, Desi Krushikara Balaga, Haveri Karnataka
126 — KABANI, The Other Direction, Wayanad Kerala
127 Ashok Kumar Secretary, Nalla Bakshana Prasthanam, Malappuram Kerala
128 Badusha N. Chairman, Wayanad Environmental Protection Committee, Wayanad Kerala
129 Biju Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Kochi Kerala
130 Catherine Lee Social Activist, Statue, Trivandrum Kerala
131 Chadrasekharan Nair Kerala Farmers Internet Forum, Trivandrum Kerala
132 Hariharan Farmer, Secretary, Kissan Jyothi Farmers Club Kerala
133 Jishnu Kumarakom Nature Club, Kottayam Kerala
134 Purushan Eloor Chairman, Periyar Malineekarana Virudha Samithi, Kochi Kerala
135 Robin Editor, Keraleeyam Fortnightly, Thrissur Kerala
136 Sreeja Aarangottukara Krishi Pata Shala, Aarangottukara, Thrissur Kerala
137 Sudheerkumar Kasaragod Environmental Protection Committee, Kasargod Kerala
138 Abdul Rahman C. P. Farmer, Jaiva Karshaka Samithi, Calicut Kerala
139 Abhilash G.S. Software Business, Trivandrum Kerala
140 Ajayan R. Plachimada Support Group, Trivandrum Kerala
141 Ambrose The Lumiere, Organic Hotel, Kochi Kerala
142 Anil Alter Media, Thrissur Kerala
143 Babychen President, Organic Bazaar, Trivandrum Kerala
144 C. K. Sujithkumar CEDAR, Thrissur Kerala
145 C. R. Neelakantan Writer and Environmentalist Kerala
146 Dr. Deepa P. Gopinath Lecturer, College of Engineering Thiruvananthapuram Kerala
147 Deepa V. S. Lecturer, College of Engineering Karunagappalli Kerala
148 E .S. Jayachandran Asst Professor, Model Engineering College, Kochi Kerala
149 Eldo Pachilakkadan Architect, BIRDS, Trivandrum Kerala
150 Geo Jose National Alliance for People’s Movement (NAPM), Kochi Kerala
151 Guruvayurappan Wildlife Preservation Society of India, Palakkad Kerala
152 Harikumar Sound Engineer, National Award Winner-2010 Kerala
153 Harish Vasudevan State Secretary, Jaiva Karshaka Samithi Kerala
154 Hussain Principal, Salsabeel School, Thrissur Kerala
155 Illias Secretary, One Earth One Life Kerala
156 Indinoor Gopi Convener, Bharathapuzha Samrakshana Samithi, Palakkad Kerala
157 J. Prasant Palakkappillil Principal, Sacred Heart College, Thevara Kerala
158 Jacob Lazer PUCL, Kochi Kerala
159 Jacon Vadakkenchery Nature Life Hospitals, Cochin Kerala
160 Jose Kerala Social Service Forum, Wyanad Kerala
161 Adv. Joseph Pillip Ecological Society of Kerala, Changancherry Kerala
162 Dr. K. C. Radhakrishnan Gandhiyan Prakruthi Chikitsa Kendram, Tirur, Malappuram Kerala
163 K. V. Dayal Chairman, Jaiva Karshaka Samithi Kerala
164 Krishna Kumar K. — Kerala
165 Dr. Lalitha Vijayan Sálim Ali Foundation, Thrissur Kerala
166 Latha A. Director, River Research Centre, Thrissur Kerala
167 M. A. Johnson Darsana Samskarika Vedi, Kolandithazham, Kozhikode Kerala
168 M. A. Rahman Professor in English and Film Maker, Kasargod Kerala
169 Dr. M.C. George Advocate, INFAM(IndianFarmersMovement) National Trustee Kerala
170 Mercy Alexander Director, SAKHI Womens Resource Centre, Trivandrum Kerala
171 Sri Mullakara Rathnakaran MLA, Ex-Minister for Agriculture Kerala
172 N. K. Sukumaran Nair Pampa Pari Rakshana Samithi, Thiruvalla Kerala
173 Nalini Nayak Self Employed Womens Association (SEWA) Kerala
174 O. V. Usha Poet and Writer, Trivandrum Kerala
175 Omana P. K. RASTA, Wayanad Kerala
176 P. Jayaprakash Coordinator, Prakrithi Padana Kendram, Nilambur Kerala
177 Pandiode Prabhakaran Secretary, Desiya Karshaka Samrakshana Samithi, Palakkad Kerala
178 Adv. Pouran Chairman, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL-Kerala) Kerala
179 Adv. Pradeepkumar Haritha Sena Farmers Organisation Kerala
180 Renjan Mathew Varghese Director, WWF-India, Kerala Chapter Kerala
181 Resalayyan V. Action Council, Vellarada, Trivandrum Kerala
182 Rony Joseph INFACT, Pala Kerala
183 S. Santhi Freelance Ecologist, Trivandrum Kerala
184 Sabeena Manager, Zero Waste Centre, Kovalam Kerala
185 Shibu K. Nair Programme Director, Thanal Kerala
186 Dr. Sreekumar Kottayam Nature Society, Kottayam Kerala
187 Sridhar Radhakrishnan Thanal Kerala
188 Sri Sudhakaran Nair Secretary, Boomithra Charitable Society, Chadayamangalam Kerala
189 Smt. Sugathakumari Padmasri Awardee and Poet and Environmentalist Kerala
190 T. P. Padmanabhan Director, Society for Environment Education in Keraka (SEEK), Kannur Kerala
191 T. Peter Kerala Swathantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation Kerala
192 Usha S. Save Our Rice Campaign Kerala
193 Dr. V. S. Vijayan Chairman, Salim Ali Foundation and Ex-Chairman, Kerala State Biodiversity Board Kerala
194 Varghese Thoduparambil Karshaka Munnettam, Thrissur Kerala
195 — Beej Swaraj Abhiyan, Bhopal Madhya Pradesh
196 — Hamara Beej Abhiyan , Bhopal Madhya Pradesh
197 — Bhojan Ka Adhikar Abhiyan, Bhopal Madhya Pradesh
198 — Dalit Aadiwasi Mahapanchayat, Bundelkhand Madhya Pradesh
199 — Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, Rewa Madhya Pradesh
200 — Narmada Bachao Aandolan, Badwani Madhya Pradesh
201 — Aadiwasi Mukti Sangathan, Sendhva Madhya Pradesh
202 — Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Betul Madhya Pradesh
203 — Bargi Bandh Visthapan Morcha Madhya Pradesh
204 Aruna Rodrigues Lead Petitioner, SC PIL, Mhow Madhya Pradesh
205 Dinesh Kothari President, Society for Nature Education & Habitatats, Indore Madhya Pradesh
206 Nilesh Desai Sampark, Jhabua Madhya Pradesh
207 Aarti Pakharaj Center for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) Maharashtra
208 Aneel Hegde Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) Maharashtra
209 Ashish Kothari Kalpvriksh, Pune Maharashtra
210 Chaitanya Kalve Green Current-The Organic Shop, Mumbai Maharashtra
211 Datta Patil YUVA Maharashtra
212 Dilnavaz Variava LEAF Initiative, Mumbai Maharashtra
213 Girish Wadhwani Organic Bazaar Partner, Pune Maharashtra
214 Kavita Mukhi The Farmers’ Market (TFM), Mumbai Maharashtra
215 Krishna Srinivasan Director Law & Advocacy – Econet, Pune Maharashtra
216 Mahrukh Bulsara Ecomantra, Mumbai Maharashtra
217 Meghna Patel Concerned Citizen, Mumbai Maharashtra
218 Narayansingh B. Bhandari Classic Marble, Thane Maharashtra
219 Neesha Noronha Mumbai Organic Farmers and Consumers Association (MOFCA) Maharashtra
220 Nitya Ghotge Anthra, Pune Maharashtra
221 Rama Bishnoi Quasar Associates, Mumbai Maharashtra
222 Sangita Sharma RAYS of HOPE, Thane Maharashtra
223 Saroj Datar Jankidevi Bajaj Institute Of Management, Mumbai Maharashtra
224 Sheela Wadhwani Organic Bazaar Partner, Mumbai Maharashtra
225 Sreedevi Lakshmi Kutty Urban Leaves, Mumbai/Den Haag Maharashtra
226 Tejal Visweshwar GM Free Maharashtra Maharashtra
227 Ujjwala A Pendse Dr. M.L. Dhawale Memorial Trust, Mumbai / Vikramgad Maharashtra
228 Vasudha Sardar Managing Trustee, Nav Nirman Nyas, Pune Maharashtra
229 Vishweshwar Madhav Nurturing Grounds, Mumbai Maharashtra
230 Bharat Mansata Founder-Member, Vanvadi Agro-ecological Regeneration Association(VARA) Maharashtra
231 Geeta Jhamb Indian Institute of Ecology and Environment, Mumbai Maharashtra
232 Dr. Nandita Shah SHARAN, Mumbai Maharashtra
233 Phiroza Tafti The INTACH Convener, Dahanu Chapter Maharashtra
234 Rina Kamath GM Free Maharashtra, Mumbai Maharashtra
235 Shreesh Ponkshe Organic Farmer, Raigad District Maharashtra
236 Suma Josson Film Maker, Mumbai Maharashtra
237 Vasant Futane Trustee, SANVAD, Vidharbha Maharashtra
238 Vipul Sanghavi Mumbai Maharashtra
239 Arunima Swain Organisation for Rural Reconstruction & Integrated Social Service Activities (ORRISSA), Bhubaneshwar Orissa
240 Binayak swain BATNET Orissa
241 Debjeet Sarangi Living Farms Orissa
242 Jagadish pradhan Sahabhagi Vikash Abhiyan Orissa
243 Sankara Narayanan Budheswary Colony, Bhubaneshwar Orissa
244 Saroj Mohanty Western Orissa Farmers Union Orissa
245 Dr. A. S. Mann Association for Scientific Research in Homeopathy, Sangrur Punjab

246 Adv. A.P.S. Shergill Coalition for Social Engineering Punjab

247 Amanjot Kaur Women Action for Ecology Punjab

248 Anil Bharati Pollution Free India Project Intellectual Forum, Patiala Punjab

249 Dr. Arun Mittra Indian Doctors for Peace & Development , Punjanb, Ludhiana Punjab

250 Arvind Rana Cancer-Free World Foundation , Chandigarh Punjab

251 Ashok Garg Grahak Panchayat, Bathinda Punjab

252 Prof. Ashok Kumar Sapolia Mansa Environment Society Punjab

253 Ashwani Kumar Sadvichar Jagriti Sewa Trust , Ludhiana Punjab

254 B. S. Chowdery Social Welfare Society Trust , Abohar Punjab

255 Prof. Bagga Singh State President , Association For Democratic Rights Punjab

256 Bakhsish Singh Pensioner’s Association Barnala Punjab

257 Dr. Balbir Singh Health & Environment Society Patiala Punjab

258 Dr. Balbir Singh Dhart Suhavi, Jalandhar Punjab

259 Balbir Singh Billing Bhaichara Kisan Sangthan, Patiala Punjab

260 Baljinder Singh Border Area Vikas Committee , Fazilka Punjab

261 Baljit Singh Sahibzada Ajit Singh Sewa Dal , Faridkot Punjab

262 Bharat Bir Singh Sobti Haribhari National Environment Protection Society, Ludhiana Punjab

263 Bhupinder Singh Mann Youth Clubs Association, Bathinda Punjab

264 D.S. Kohli Amritsar Vikas Manch Punjab

265 Dr. Daler Singh Society for Sustainable Development , Ludhiana Punjab

266 Darshan Singh Youth Foundation, Kharar Punjab

267 Deepak Babbar Mission Aagaaz, Amritsar Punjab

268 Des Raj Jindal Human Rights Forum Barnala Punjab

269 Devinder Singh Gill RTI Awareness Forum , Moga Punjab

270 Capt. Dharam Singh Gill Sunehara Bharat , Faridkot Punjab

271 Diwan Chand Streamline Welfare Society, Ferozepur Punjab

272 Dr. G.P.I. Singh Vice Chancellor, Adesh University, Bathinda Punjab

273 Gurbhej Singh Jago Party, Amritsar Punjab

274 Gurhakam Singh Scientific Awareness and Social Welfare Forum, Sangrur Punjab

275 Gurjit Singh Dhillon Shaheed Bhagat Singh Youth Club Dhugga Punjab

276 Gurmail Singh Muktsar Vatavaran Sath, Muktsar Punjab

277 Gurmeet Palahi Phagwara Environment Association, Phagwara Punjab

278 Dr. Gurnam Singh Patnjali Yog Samiti , Ferozepur Cantt Punjab

279 Gurpreet Chandbaja Bhai Khaniya Cancer Roko Society Faridkot Punjab

280 Gyani Kewal Singh Maharani Jind Kaur Trust, Punjab

281 Hamir Singh Internationalist Democratic Party Punjab

282 Harajinder Sandhu Nature Care Society, Harike Punjab

283 Harish Monga NGO Cordination Committee Ferozepur Punjab

284 Dr. Harjinder Walia Global Punjab Foundation, Patiala Punjab

285 Harjot Bains United Youth Organization, Ludhiana Punjab

286 Dr. Harminder Sidhu Gadri Baba Dulla Singh Gyani Nihal Singh Foundation, Ludhiana Punjab

287 Hemant Goswami Burning Brain Society Punjab

288 Iqbal Singh Fiddewala Vatavaran Sabmhal Samaj Sewa Sanstha , Fidde Kalan Punjab

289 Dr. Jagdish Pappra Malwa Hek Foundation , Lehragaga Punjab

290 Jagdish Singla Engineers’ Club Barnala Punjab

291 Jagmohan Singh Lok Kalyan Samiti, Amritsar Punjab

292 Prof. Jagmohan Singh Shaheed Bhagat Singh Birth Centenary Foundation, Ludhiana Punjab

293 Jagsir Singh Bhangar Sant S Pratap Singh Memorial Youth Club , Bhangar( Ferozepur) Punjab

294 Jasvir Singh Grewal Youth Clubs Organization, Bathinda Punjab

295 Jaswinder Singh Brar Gangsar Sports Club , Jaitu Punjab

296 Jatinderpreet Media Artists, Ludhiana Punjab

297 Kamal Anand People For Transparency, Sangrur Punjab

298 Kamal Sharma Bhola Patanjali Yog Samiti , Barnala Punjab

299 Kanwaljeet Dhindsa Society for Education and Awareness in Backward Area, Lehragaga Punjab

300 Karamjeet Singh Sran Society for Environment & Ecological Resources, Faridkot Punjab

301 Krishan Chand Sharma Patanjali Yoga Samiti Hoshiarpur Punjab

302 Krishan Singla Lok Chetna Sabha, Fairdkot Punjab

303 Kultar Singh Sandhwan Director, Gyani Zail Singh Center for Rural Development, Faridkot Punjab

304 Kulwant Singh Lehri Prof Mohan Singh Foundation , Ludhiana Punjab

305 Dr. Lakhbir Singh Pehal, Jalandhar Punjab

306 Ludher Ram Nagar Sudhaar Sabha Mansa Punjab

307 Madan Lal Vatawaran Panchayat , VPO Bulhowal , District Hoshiarpur Punjab

308 Mahant Varinder Singh FAPRO Kang Mai, Hoshiarpur Punjab

309 Mahendra Kumar Jain Atam Jeevan Kalyan Mandal, Ropar Punjab

310 Malwinder Singh Malli Punjab Manch , Chandigarh Punjab

311 Dr. Maneel Grover Mohan Nagar SDSG Foundation, Mohali Punjab

312 Manmohan Sharma Director, Voluntary Health Association of Punjab (VHAP), Chandigarh Punjab

313 Manoj Sharma Bhoomi, Hoshiarpur Punjab

314 Naresh Birla Cancer Roko Jagriti Manch , Mansa Punjab

315 Dr. Neelam Sodhi Aashirvaad Trust Punjab

316 Neeraj Atri Citizens’ Voice , Chandigarh Punjab

317 Dr. Nirmal Singh Punjabi Sath, jalandhar Punjab

318 Nirmal Singh Bilaspuri Kudrati Somye Sambhal Sanstha , Moga Punjab

319 P.P.S. Dhillon RTI Awareness Forum Moga Punjab

320 Parkash Singh Bhatti Khudaai Khidmatgaar, Amritsar Punjab

321 Parminder Singh Gill Sewa Punjab, Moga Punjab

322 Parveen Kala Sahara Club Faridkot Punjab

323 Parvinder Singh Kittna Human Empowerment League Of Punjab (Help) Punjab

324 Dr. Pavittar Singh Sarv Sewa Society , Nawanshahar Punjab

325 Pirthipal Singh Dhillon All India Food Processors Association , Punjab Chapter Moga Punjab

326 Poonam Singh Preetlarhi Trust , Preet Nagar , Amritsar Punjab

327 Prabhdial Singh Randhawa Amritsar Pollution Control Committee Punjab

328 Prem Saini Gyan Punj Educational Society Punjab

329 Prithpal Singh Baba Farid Center for Special Children Punjab

330 Promila Kamal Param Vaibhav; Principal, Police DAV Public School, Amritsar Punjab

331 Adv. Purushottam Betab Kotkapura Consumers’ Association Punjab

332 Dr. R. K. Mahajan Swami Vivekanand Study Circle Bathinda Punjab

333 R. K. Kaplash Chairman, Consumer Association , Chandigarh Punjab

334 Dr. R. P. S. Aulakh Bhartiya Jan Gyan Vigyan Jatha, Ludhiana Punjab

335 Maj. R.P.S. Malhotra India Against Corruption, Patiala Punjab

336 Raj Pal Sharma Vyapar Mandal Barnala Punjab

337 Rajdeep Dhaliwal Green Earth Patiala Punjab

338 Rakesh Jain Bhagwan Mahavir Jain Chetna Sabha, Ludhiana Punjab

339 Rakesh Kad Patiala Our Pride Punjab

340 Rakesh Narula Bathinda Vikas Manch Punjab

341 Rashpal Singh Shubhkarman Society, Hoshiarpur Punjab

342 Ravneet Pal Singh Eco Sikh Organization, Ludhiana Punjab

343 Rozi Sareen Sarva Matrai Foundation , Patiala Punjab

344 Saksham Katyal Jan Saksham Ludhiana Punjab

345 Dr. Sandeep Jain Care for Animals and Protection of Environment, Ludhiana Punjab

346 Sanjay Walia Shaheed Bhagat Singh Club, Muktsar Punjab

347 Sanjeev Marshal Social Welfare Society , Fazilka Punjab

348 Sant Krishnanand Bhai Bhagtu Trust , Bhagtuana , Jaitu Punjab

349 Sarabjeet Singh Human Development Organization , Ludhiana Punjab

350 Capt. Sarabjeet Singh Dhillon Chogirdha Bachaao Committee, Jalandhar Punjab

351 Dr. Satinder Singh Agreed Foundation, Ferozepur Punjab

352 Satnam Singh Manak Punjab Jagriti Manch, Jalandhar Punjab

353 Sewa Singh Chawla Bharat Vikas Parishad , Faridkot Punjab

354 Shakti Singh Boarder Area Sangharsh Committee , Fazilka Punjab

355 Sukhdev Singh Bhopal Nature Human Centre Peoples’ Movement(NHCPM), Punjab Punjab

356 Sukhdevsingh Kokri Kalan Moga Punjab

357 Sukhwinder Singh Kalsi Naujawan Lok Bhalai Sabha , Talwandi Bhai Punjab

358 Sukhwinder Singh Sidhu Environment Awareness Association, Bathinda Punjab

359 Dr. Sunny Sandhu Prem Sena , Tarantaaran Punjab

360 Surinder Chohan Jan Ekta, Chandigarh Punjab

361 Surinder Pal Kaushal Ishwar Asha Memorial Environmental Trust , Barnala Punjab

362 Susheel Moudgill Daanish Foundation Punjab

363 Tarsem Singh Haraj Guru Gobind Singh Sports Club VPO Haraj , Talwandi Bhai Punjab

364 Dr. Tejbir Singh National Coordinator, Social Medicine Association, Amritsar Punjab

365 Thakur Baljinder Singh Panchnad Foundation, Patiala Punjab

366 Dr. Ujagar Singh Mann Senior Citizen Society, Barnala Punjab

367 Ujjal Singh Bhai Ghanayia Charitable Trust Tanda Udmad, District Hoshiarpur Punjab

368 Umendra Dutt Kheti Virasat Mission Punjab

369 Prof. V. C. Nanda Azadi Bachhao Andolan, Chandigarh Punjab

370 Varinder Gupta Vishav Yog Sansthan, Khanna Punjab

371 Veena Sharma Human Right Law Network , Chandigarh Punjab

372 Vikam India Against Corruption Goniana Punjab

373 Vikramjit Singh Self employed & Environmental Activist , Mohali Punjab

374 Vinod Kumar Environment Society Bhikhi Punjab

375 Yashwant Bassi Ropar District Youth Clubs Coordination Committee Punjab

376 A R Sharma Awareness Training and Motivation for Action, Jaipur Rajasthan
377 Abhay Singh Gramin avam Samajik Vikas Sanstha, Ajmer Rajasthan
378 Dr. Alok Vyas CECOEDECON, Jaipur Rajasthan
379 Arun Kumawat Navachar Sanstha Kapasan, Chittorgarh Rajasthan
380 Ashok Mathur Kisaan Morcha, Bikaner Rajasthan
381 Babosa KSS, Jaipur Rajasthan
382 Badri narayan Jaat KSS, Tonk Rajasthan
383 Banshi Bairwa Prayas Kendra Sanstha, Jaipur Rajasthan
384 Bhagirath Chodhary Gramin Swabhiman Sansthan, Nagour Rajasthan
385 Bhagwan Sahay KSS, Jaipur Rajasthan
386 Bhanwar Kanwar KSS, Tonk Rajasthan
387 Bhanwar Lal Choudhary Lok Kalyan Sansthan, Barmer Rajasthan
388 Bhanwarlal Tailor Janvikas Sansthan, Ajmer Rajasthan
389 Bhogi lal KSS, Baran Rajasthan
390 Brijbhushan Sharma Daang Vikas Sansthan, Karauli Rajasthan
391 Brijmohan SARD, Sirohi Rajasthan
392 Chail Bihari Sharma Gram Rajya Vikas Evam Prashikshan Sansthan, Karauli Rajasthan
393 Dinesh Kumar Kaushik Action for Welfare and Awareness In Rural Environment, Ajmer Rajasthan
394 Hanuman Sahay Sharma Sevay Jan Samiti, Jaipur Rajasthan
395 Hari narayan sutrakar KSS, Jaipur Rajasthan
396 Indrarao Saarthi Vikas Sansthan, Churu Rajasthan
397 Kailash Gurjar KSS, Tonk Rajasthan
398 Kaushal/Pratap Lal Meena Harotii Adim Janjati Vikas Simiti, Kota Rajasthan
399 Kedar Prasad Shreemal Gramoday Samajik Sansthan, Jaipur Rajasthan
400 Kedarmal Jat Manav Kalyan Vidhyapeeth Sansthan, Jaipur Rajasthan
401 Laduram Varma Gandhi Vikas Samiti Tamdia, Jaipur Rajasthan
402 Madan Ji KSS, Tonk Rajasthan
403 Mathura Lal KSS, Baran Rajasthan
404 Mohan Meena Shri Kalyan Sewa Sansthan, Tonk Rajasthan
405 Mohd. Usmani Suksm Vigyan Samiti, Nagour Rajasthan
406 Moti Lal Kumawat Grameen Ekta Bal Shiksha Samiti, Jaipur Rajasthan
407 Navratnamal Sain Subhash Yuva Mandal, Tonk Rajasthan
408 Pankaj Kumar Pareek Gramin Vikas Samiti Brijlal Nagar, Tonk Rajasthan
409 Pushkar Joshi Yugantar Sansthan, Udaipur Rajasthan
410 Rajendra Sen Sarthi Sanstha Surajgarh, Jhunjhunu Rajasthan
411 Ram Kishor Prajapat Gramothan Sansthan, Ajmer Rajasthan
412 Rama Kishan Jaat KSS, Jaipur Rajasthan
413 Ramavtar Kumawat Samvedna Sansthan, Jaipur Rajasthan
414 Ramesh Chand Sharma Gyanoday Gramin Vikas Evam Shikshan Prashikshan Sansthan, Sawaimadhopur Rajasthan
415 Ramkumar Bairwa Ugriyawas Jagruti kendra sanstha, Jaipur Rajasthan
416 Ramvilas Kumavat Marwad sewa sansthan, Nagour Rajasthan
417 Sanjay Kumar Jain Sadhana Society, Banswara Rajasthan
418 Santosh Bhargav Award Sansthan, Alwar Rajasthan
419 Shankar lal Gurjar SEVA Sansthan, Tonk Rajasthan
420 Shivji ram Yadav Shiv Shiksha Samiti, Tonk Rajasthan
421 Shyoji Ram Gurjar Sangharsh Sansthan , Jaipur Rajasthan
422 Subhash Purohit Gaurwad Gramin vikas Anusandhan Sansthan, Pali Rajasthan
423 Suleman Shekh Gramin Manav Kalyan Shikshan Sanshtan, Jaipur Rajasthan
424 Suresh chand Sharma Shiv Shakti Navyuvak Mandal Samajik Sanstha, Jaipur Rajasthan
425 Suresh Kumar Saini SAJAG – Society for Awareness through Joing Activities and Guidance, Jaipur Rajasthan
426 Virendra Vidrohi Matsya Mewat Shiksha avam Vikas Sanssthan, Alwar Rajasthan
427 — Malliga Kalnjium Women Farmers Association, Thiruvannamalai Tamil Nadu
428 — Annakili Kalanjium Unorganised Workers Union, Vellore Tamil Nadu
429 — Vetriselvan – Lawers Forum For Human Rights Justice, Chennai Tamil Nadu
430 — Hope, Puducherry Tamil Nadu
431 A.M. Raja President CIFA, Tamil Nadu Chapter, Chennai Tamil Nadu
432 Anantha Sayanan Restore/ Safe Food Alliance, Chennai Tamil Nadu
433 Annapoorni Sankaran Safe Food Aliance, Chennai Tamil Nadu
434 Arul Rathinam Secretary, Pasumai Thaayagam Foundation, Chennai Tamil Nadu
435 Arun President, Dharmapuri Dist. Organic Farmers Association Tamil Nadu
436 Babuji Janakarajan Farmer, Coimbatore Tamil Nadu
437 Balaji Shankar Tharchaarbu Iyakkam Tamil Nadu
438 Balasubramanian Thalanmai Organic Farmers Sangam, Madurai Tamil Nadu
439 Bhrathi Thansan Arulagam,Coimbatore Tamil Nadu
440 Boopathi Rajan Social Welfare Trust, Arachalur Tamil Nadu
441 C. Kandasamy President, Vattamalai Odaikkarai Pasan Vivasayegal Sangam, Vellakoil, Tiruppur Dist. Tamil Nadu
442 C. Rathinasamy Thamilaga Vivasayegal Sangam, Erode Tamil Nadu
443 C. Vayapuri President and Former Member of Govt.High level committee; United Farmers Association of Tamil Nadu, Thalaivasal, Salem Dist. Tamil Nadu
444 Chandra Women Education and Economic Development Trust, Redhills, Thiruvallur District Tamil Nadu
445 Cheran President, Cauvery Delta Farmer Organisations Federation, Thiruvarur Dist. Tamil Nadu
446 D.V.Sreedhar Goodnews India Foundation Tamil Nadu
447 Fatma Bernard President, Tamil Nadu Women’s Forum, Arrakonam Tamil Nadu
448 Ganeshamurthi Member of Parliament Tamil Nadu
449 Gomathinayagam President, Vivasaya Seva Samgam, Puliangudi, Thirunelveli Dist. Tamil Nadu
450 Iyal Vagai Environmetal Group, Tiruppur Tamil Nadu
451 Jagannathan Nalla Keerai, Thiuvellore Tamil Nadu
452 Dr. Jeevanantham President Tamilnadu Green Movement, Erode Tamil Nadu
453 Dr. K. Gunathilagaraj Professor of Agricultural Entomology (Rtd), Tamilnadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore Tamil Nadu
454 K. Jagadeesan Advisor, Federation of Tamil Nadu Rice Mill Owners Association Tamil Nadu
455 Prof. K. K. Krishnamoorthy President-Indian Society for Certification of organic products, Coimbatore Tamil Nadu
456 K. Mohan Raj Tamil Nadu Green Movement, Chennai Tamil Nadu
457 K. N. Nagarajan Chennai Tamil Nadu
458 Kalaivani President, Organic Farmers Federation, Erode Dist. Tamil Nadu
459 Kalidasan President, OSAI, Coimbatore Tamil Nadu
460 Karpagam Organic Farmer, Point Return, Maduranthagam Tamil Nadu
461 Kazini Global Environment Managers, Coimbatore Tamil Nadu
462 Kongu Kolandaisamy President, Horticultural Farmers Association Tamil Nadu
463 Krishnakumar President, Bharat Kisan Sangh Organic farming Wing, Gobichettipalayam Tamil Nadu
464 Kuppusamy President, Organic Farmers Association, Kullathur Region, Salem Dist. Tamil Nadu
465 KVRK Thirunaranan Founder, The Nature Trust, Chennai Tamil Nadu
466 M. David Amalanadane Pharmacist, ONGC, Karaikal Tamil Nadu
467 Makkal Thamilagam Coordinator, Padam Narayan, Chennai Tamil Nadu
468 Mohan and Devika Advocates, Chennai Tamil Nadu
469 N.S.Palanisamy President, Ex.MLA-Non Political Tamilnadu Vivsayegal Sangam, Tiruppur Tamil Nadu
470 Nallasamy President, Federation of Tamil Nadu Farmers Association, Erode Tamil Nadu
471 Dr. Nammalvar Organisation Indian Organic Farmers Movement Tamil Nadu
472 O.V.Saravanakumar Organiser, Salem Tamil Nadu
473 Pamara Theepam N. Parthipan Iyarkai Nala Vazhvhu Sangam, Mutthur Tamil Nadu
474 Pamayan Thaalanmai Uzhavar Iyakam Tamil Nadu
475 Piyush President, Speak Out Salem, Salem Tamil Nadu
476 Podaran Tamil Nadu Iyarkai Vazhvurimai Sangam, Kangeyam Tamil Nadu
477 Ponnaiyan President-Tamilnadu Tharsarbu Vivasayegal Sangam, Erode Tamil Nadu
478 Dr. Ponnammal Natarajan Retd. Dean, Anna University Tamil Nadu
479 Ramaswamy Selvam State Coordinator, Tamil Nadu Organic Farmers Federation Tamil Nadu
480 Radhika Rammohan Restore Health Livelihoods and Nature, Chennai Tamil Nadu
481 Raja Chidambaram Perambalur, President of Thamilaga Vivasayegal Sangam, Trichyi Tamil Nadu
482 Ram Mohan Hind Mazdor Kisan Panchayat, Coimbatore Tamil Nadu
483 Ramasubramanian Samanvaya Consulting, Chennai Tamil Nadu
484 Ravi President, Care and Love Trust, Erode Tamil Nadu
485 Ravi Sivanandan Friends of Sahtyamangalam Forest, Erode Tamil Nadu
486 Rayyan East Coast Research and Development Organisation, Thoothukkudi Tamil Nadu
487 Sadagopan President, Tamilnadu Vivasayegal Valvurimai Sangam, Chengi Tamil Nadu
488 Dr. Sakthivel President, Care Trust, Erode Tamil Nadu
489 Sakthivel Organic Farmer, Thalavadi Tamil Nadu
490 Sangeetha Sriram Restore Gardens, Chennai Tamil Nadu
491 Shankara Narayanan Thanner Thalam, Kodumudi Tamil Nadu
492 Sheelu President, Women’s Collective, Chennai Tamil Nadu
493 Sundaram R. Humanist Party Member, Salem Tamil Nadu
494 Sundari TamilNadu Resource Team, Chennai Tamil Nadu
495 Sunder Rajan Poovulagin Nanbargal, Chennai Tamil Nadu
496 Sundra Rajan Lawyers for Environmental Justice, Chennai Tamil Nadu
497 T. Sakthivel President, SEWA, Erode Tamil Nadu
498 Thirumalai Nalla Sandhai, Thiruvellore Tamil Nadu
499 Valukkuparai Balasubramanian President, Vivasayegal Sangam, Pollachi Tamil Nadu
500 Vellian President, Tamilnadu Vanigar Peravai, Chennai Tamil Nadu
501 Vengateshwarn Zone President of CII (Zone comprising of Salem, Erode, Dharmapuri, etc.) Tamil Nadu
502 Viswanathan Tree Growers Association, Erode Tamil Nadu
503 Dr. Debal Deb. Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies, Kolkata West Bengal
504 Raj Krishna Mukherjee Development Research Communication and Services Centre(DRCSC), Kolkata West Bengal
505 Vinita Mansata Earthcare Books West Bengal
506 — Breakthrough Science Society, Kolkata West Bengal
507 — Save Our rice Campaign, West Bengal West Bengal
508 — Terai Research Society, Jalpaiguri West Bengal
509 — Palash, Purulia West Bengal
510 — Swanirvar, North 24 Parganas West Bengal
511 — Bagnan Gramin Mahila Sanmilan, Howrah West Bengal
512 — Dhanchabari Sister Nivedita Smriti Sangha (DSNSS), Purba Medinipur West Bengal
513 — Champa Mahila Society (CMS), South 24 Parganas West Bengal
514 — Indraprastha Srijan Welfare Society (ISWS), South 24 Parganas West Bengal
Annexure:
Extracts from “Bt cotton: Questions & Answers” by Dr K R Kranthi, Director of Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR, Nagpur) published by Indian Society for Cotton Improvement, 2012

32. Is the increase in yield because of Bt cotton alone?

Though GM Bt cotton technology has brought down pesticide use by about 50 per cent, it is not correct to assume that cotton yields in India doubled only because of Bt cotton.

Bt cotton was introduced in 2002 primarily for bollworm control. Subsequently, there has been a significant leap in the cotton production. During 2001 India produced about 158 lakh bales, which increased to 243 lakh bales in 2004 and 345 lakh bales by 2011. However, it is interesting to note that the yield increase by 2004 was mainly due to the IPM/IRM strategies, new insecticides, new hybrids, new area in Gujarat, apart from the 5.4% area under Bt cotton. The area under non-Bt straight varieties was about 55.0% in 2004 and non-Bt hybrids at 38.0%. Cotton Advisory Board data show that cotton yields increased by about 60 per cent in three years between 2002 and 2004 when the area under Bt cotton was a meager 5.6 per cent and the area under non-Bt cotton was 94.4 per cent. The yields did not increase significantly more than the pre-Bt era even until 2011 when the Bt cotton area touched 96 per cent.

The area under irrigation increased mainly in Gujarat after the year 2000 especially in the form of check-dams in the Saurashtra belt which had new areas of about 8-9 lakh hectares under cotton. Currently about one-third of India‟s production is derived from the state which has one-fourth of the cotton area. Clearly, apart from the contribution of Bt cotton, the increase in yield may have also been due to other major changes in the past 8 years. Some perceptible changes include, implementation on IPM and IRM on a large scale by the Ministry of Agriculture and ICAR, the introduction of some excellent cotton hybrids, increase in cotton area in Gujarat from 15 lakh ha to 26 lakh ha, increase in check dams and drip irrigation systems, increase in hybrid cotton area from 40% to 90% and introduction of 6-7 new effective insecticide molecules for bollworm control and sucking pest management.

45. Have bollworm populations declined because of Bt cotton?

Interestingly, H. armigera infestation reduced significantly in cotton ecosystems from 2000, to the point of effective non-existence in some parts of India. It is not clear whether it was the introduction of Bt-cotton or the change in insecticide use pattern in Asia, notably the decrease in pyrethroids, coupled with increase in the new chemistries which impose fitness problems in residual surviving populations, which caused the change, but H. armigera populations rarely exceeded economic threshold levels in Asia, particularly in majority of the cotton growing regions of India. It is now being increasingly felt that bollworm infestations declined significantly over the past 12 years mainly because of a significant decline in the use of the insecticide “synthetic-pyrethroid” coupled with enhanced usage of some potent bollworm-controlling insecticides such as Spinosad, Emamectin and Indoxacarb, which were introduced during 2000-2001. Bt cotton has also played a part in the decline of bollworm populations.

COALITION FOR A GM-FREE INDIA WELCOMES THE PARLIAMENTARY STANDING COMMITTEE’S REPORT ON GM CROPS

ASKS GOVERNMENT TO IMMEDIATELY STOP ALL FIELD TRIALS.

ALSO DEMANDS GOVT THROW OUT THE BRAI BILL AND BRING IN A BIOSAFETY STATUTE,
AND STOP CALLING BT COTTON IN INDIA A SUCCESS


New Delhi, August 9, 2012
: Calling the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture’s report on GM crops a historic, comprehensive and well-grounded document, the Coalition for a GM-Free India welcomed the report and hoped that the governments in India, especially the Union Government, would change their perspective on the subject at least now. It is clear that the government’s views are uninformed and biased on the matter, and the blind promotion of the technology is unscientific to say the least, said the Coalition. It is symbolic that the Standing Committee’s report comes out on August 9th, observed as “Quit India” day in the country – it is time that GM crops are thrown out of our food and farming systems, a Press Release said. The Coalition asked for the immediate implementation of one of the key recommendations of the Committee, which is to stop all field trials of GM crops.
“This report vindicates the concerns and positions taken by many State Governments in India, such as Bihar, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh etc which have disallowed GM crops, including field trials. It also vindicates the larger public demand not to allow GM crops into our food and farming systems” said Sridhar Radhakrishnan, Convener of the Coalition.
It is evident that the Chair and members of the Standing Committee have gone into the finer details of this controversial technology and studied it from all angles, including the socio-economic, so that the interests of the Indian farmer are upheld ultimately. The report looks at regulation and its shortcomings and questions the Ministry of Agriculture on its policy-making related to transgenics in Indian agriculture. The Coalition sincerely hoped that the nation as a whole takes pointers from this analysis and requests law makers and the government to throw out the deeply flawed Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill and start at the drawing board afresh, with the correct mandate and therefore, the correct ministries.
“We also agree with the Standing Committee recommendation that the current “collusions of the worst kind” in the regulatory system be probed thoroughly”, added Sridhar Radhakrishnan.
The Agriculture Standing Committee has 31 members and is headed by veteran parliamentarian Basudeb Acharia. Interestingly enough, this report was unanimously adopted by the Committee, cutting across party lines.
Kavitha Kuruganti, Member of the Coalition added that the report comes at the right time, when the biotech industry with its deep pockets is exerting pressure in overt and subtle ways on governments. “Ignoring the ground reality of the plight of rainfed smallholder farmers in the country, the biotech industry is busy profiteering at their expense. The analysis of the Standing Committee when it comes to Bt cotton performance in the country, backed up by field visits by committee members, is that it has aggravated agrarian distress rather than helped farmers. We demand that liability for this be fixed on promoters and regulators. The irresponsible hype and promotion of this technology has cost many farmers their lives and this cannot continue”, she said.
The Coalition noted that it is only a public debate facilitated by the then Union Minister for Environment & Forests, Jairam Ramesh, that stopped another disaster in the form of Bt brinjal descending upon our farmers and citizens who would have been forced to consume it. The Standing Committee report takes cognizance of this too.  Keeping in view the risks involved in open-air field trials of GMOs the committee has recommended that all field trials be stopped immediately; we wholeheartedly welcome the recommendation of the Committee. It is time that Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, which have given permissions for such trials stop the open air release of GMOs in their states”, the Coalition stated.
The Coalition hopes that the report will form the basis for a deep and widespread debate on the subject of GMOs in our food and farming in the country and said that India should be proud of this historic, well-analysed report coming out in the year that the country is hosting the Convention on Biological Diversity’s COP-MOP in Hyderabad later this year. “We hope that this report will guide the thinking in other countries as well, including our neighbouring countries with similar socio-economic conditions for their farming communities”, said the Coalition.
For more information, contact:
Sridhar Radhakrishnan at 09995358205
Kavitha Kuruganti at 09393001550

SOME OF THE IMPORTANT RECOMMENDATIONS ARE PART OF THE SCANNED DOCUMENT PRESENT HERE.

 

(Rajasthan) Government bans GM trials, to burn standing crop

The Rajasthan government has put on hold all trials of genetically modified (GM) crops in the state.

In an order dated 13 March, the Principal Secretary, Agriculture, government of Rajasthan stated “..no trials of GM crops should be conducted in the State until final decision in this matter is taken.”

“The issue (of permitting trials of transgenic crops) indeed being fraught with concerns as no unanimity has arrived at, either in their favour or against them. The government, after considering different aspects of it, has taken a view to wait until a national consensus is evolved. It has also been decided that discussions should be held with all stakeholders and to form a view in this regard keeping in mind the guidelines issued by GEAC and GoI,” the order said.

Significantly, the order comes close on heels of the government’s withdrawal of the controversial no-objection certificate (NoC) recently issued by it to the Delhi University for conduct of GM mustard trials in three locations in Rajasthan. The trials had started in Bharatpur, Alwar and Sriganganagar and were nearing harvest. Responding to media reports and questions raised in the assembly, the government had ordered that the NoC be withdrawn. “On March 9th, the NoC was withdrawn and the crop ordered to be destroyed,” confirmed Anil Gupta, deputy secretary, department of agriculture.

So far, international seed majors Monsanto, Dow Agro Sciences and Pioneer have applied for and got permission from the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) under the centre to conduct trials of Ht/Bt Corn in Rajasthan this year, but this was subject to a mandatory no-objection certificate from the state government. With the state’s recent decision not to permit GM trials for now, the trials planned by these companies in the coming season hangs fire.

The order, for the first time, sends a strong signal that Rajasthan is not up to indiscriminately permitting trials of transgenic crops having questionable environmental consequences, without an informed debate. So far, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Kerala, Odisha and Karnataka have said an outright ‘ no’ to GM crop trials in their respective states, while Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra have not yet issued NoCs.

Earlier, GM crop experiments were approved directly by the GEAC under the central govenrment. However, state NoCs became mandatory since July 2011 after Nitish Kumar objected to GM trials taking in Bihar without the state government’s consent, as agriculture is a state subject.

Story by Sowmya Sivakumar, Jaipur edition, DNA dated 20th March 2012

http://epaper.dnaindia.com/epapermain.aspx?pgNo=2&edcode=1310016&eddate=2012-3-20

 

 

Mr Prime Minister, Your comments on the opposition to GM crops & Nuclear power plants

Dr Manmohan Singh,
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India,
# 7, Race Course Road,

New Delhi                                                                                                                            March 05, 2012                                                        

 

Your Comments on the Opposition to GM Crops and Nuclear Power Plants

 

Dear Mr. Prime Minister

There has been wide coverage of your interview with the journal ‘Science’, on February 24, 2012 concerning the opposition to nuclear power plants and GM crops in India. You choose to resurrect the old bogeyman of a ‘foreign-hand’, this time pointing to external  funding of NGOs to oppose Indian development, as if they are some sort of a 5th columnist operating to undermine the nation’s interest. This we feel, is a highly inappropriate misrepresentation of facts. The misdemeanours of these NGOs, if any, may well be only minor infringements of the letter of a restrictive law that enables government to harass them as is now being undertaken. In  reality , what we are all fighting against is indeed a foreign-hand operating at the behest of  and  from  within  your government, supported  by  Indian  and  foreign  commercial entities , to corporatise Indian agriculture & farming practices and the energy sector , without in-depth and impartial analyses which prioritise the country’s security and safety. If this is their sin, it is ours too.  Your remarks, in essence, indict every signatory to this letter. Our individual and collective  “unthinking state , an unlikely charge as that is, does not unduly perturb us ; on the other hand, your charge that all those who  voice dissent of your government’s policy on  GM crops and nuclear power do not belong to the “thinking segment” of society is an indictment of a large section of our citizenry . It betrays an inappropriate distinction between “thinkers” and “non-thinkers” solely on the basis of agreement or disagreement with government policy. Surely, this cannot be. Informed dissent and a healthy response to it by our government through trusted dialogue are vital for a functioning democracy. We are not China. The absurdity of this position is therefore, self-evident and it absolutely requires us to make a measured and robust response through addressing the key issues surrounding GM crops and the nuclear power sector.

 

The prominently visible foreign hand of the US, in these two greatly important issues with ramifications for our country far into the future (and with regard to GM crops, irreversibly so), is squarely created and abetted by the UPA government.  One  indication  of such  collusion is the line-up of support your  government  has  sought  or received thus far, from ABLE (the Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises) , the Indo-US Knowledge  Initiative on Agriculture, the Indo-US CEOs Forum , the Indo-US  Business  Council , etc. , all of which expose the distinct foreign influence deliberately  brought  into these critical policy areas. Along with your  investigations of the so-called anti-national  misdeeds  of  the  NGOs , why is  your  government  not probing the influence peddled by  these  agencies  and  entities who are  primarily furthering  the  interests of foreign governments and private multinational corporations? Or,  is  it  that  only  those  who  support  your  policies  are  helping  the  nation , while those raising legitimate and  scientifically-based dissent are all branded as traitors working against  the  national  interest ?

 

Furthermore, several important communications on key issues have been submitted to you in writing over the last two to three years, without even the courtesy of an acknowledgement from the PMO.  We must assume from your remarks to the ‘Science’ journal that the evidence, which has hitherto been offered on the significant gaps in safety and liability surrounding both these technologies, by well informed and deeply concerned individuals and groups in the nation’s interest , has not been seen by you, or else  you would surely have taken cognisance of it.

 

In the attached Annexure, we have presented some key issues on both these technologies and their profound implications for our country.  Based on this, we urge the UPA government to initiate a truly inclusive process of deliberations with all stake-holders in civil society to help formulate a rational public policy with regard to both the nuclear power sector and GM crops.

 

With Regards,

Sincerely Yours,

1.

Justice VR Krishna Iyer, former Judge, Supreme Court of India

2.     Dr.A.Gopalakrishnan , Former Chairman , Atomic Energy Regulatory  Board

3.     E.A.S.Sarma,  Former Union Power Secretary, GOI

4.     Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, former Chief of Naval Staff, Mumbai

5.     Dr.Pushpa  Mitra  Bhargava, Former  Vice-Chairman , National  Knowledge  Commission

6.     Praful Bidwai, Writer, Columnist and Researcher

7.     Mr. J.M. Lyngdoh, Former  Chief  Election  Commissioner 

8.     Medha  Patkar, Convenor,  National  Alliance  of  People’s  Movements

9.     Admiral L.Ramdas, Former Chief of Naval Staff and Magsaysay awardee, Alibag

10.  Lalita Ramdas, former Board Chair Greenpeace International, Bhaimala, Alibag

11.  Dr Vandana Shiva, Director, Research Foundation for Science , Technology and Ecology

12.  Admiral  R.H. Tahiliani (Retd.), Former  Chief  of  Naval  Staff & former Chairman Transparency International

13.  Prof. Romila Thapar,  Professor  Emeritus, Jawaharlal  Nehru  University

14.  Aruna Roy, Social activist, MKSS

15.    Dr.V.S.Vijayan, Chairman, Sálim Ali Foundation; former Chairman, Kerala State Biodiversity Board; Thrissur

16.  Aruna Rodrigues, Lead Petitioner GMO PIL in the Supreme Court

17.  Prashant Bhushan, Advocate, Supreme Court (signed)

 

Cc   Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson, United Progressive Alliance (UPA)

Cc   J Jayalalithaa, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

 

 

ANNEXURE

REASONS WHY THERE IS OPPOSITION TO GM CROPS AND NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS

 

 Genetically Engineered (GE) Crops

 

  • Brief background: GE crops were invented by the US; given their raison detre of profit for the Industry by patent laws in that country and their commercialisation promoted at the behest of the White House to “foster the biotech Industry” led by Monsanto, the international market leader holding 90% of crop patents. No GM crop is approved ‘as safe’ by US regulatory agencies in the US when they are put to market (GM cotton, Soy and Cotton, all of which are animal feeds). The Industry has held sway; there is little regulatory oversight.

 

  • The KIA (Indo-US Knowledge Initiative in Agriculture) and the conflict of interest within government agencies and our public sector agri-institutions:  India is singled out for the commercialisation of GM crops by the US and Monsanto, an objective that is actively facilitated by the Indian regulators. This is well attested to in court documents. This conflict of interest found official expression in the KIA, which the UPA government sought fit to ink with the USA. The ICAR ( the signatory partner for India), along with its affiliates, provided Monsanto with access to India’s genetic resources (Monsanto was elected to its Board, a company that stands formally indicted for fraud, bribes, hounding farmers and some of the worst crimes against humanity). Though this agreement has since lapsed, formal public-private partnership agreements between the biotech Industry and our agri institutions fully supported by the Department of Biotechnology are accelerating this process. The official push for GM in Indian agriculture means that we are the only country extensively testing untested GM crops in open field trials in virtually all our food, ie our staples in grains, our vegetables, oilseeds and fruit with great risk of contamination. In the matter of brinjal, Monsanto stands accused by the NBA (National Biodiversity Authority) of pirating an Indian brinjal gene.

 

  •  Bt brinjal and Monsanto’s safety dossier: Bt brinjal was self-attested by Monsanto for safety, clearly an approach that invalidates it. Subsequent appraisals of that dossier by scientists which included globally eminent GM scientists concluded that the dossier was gravely deficient, with many safety issues not addressed at all and which remain unresolved, yet the apex regulator, the GEAC approved it for commercialisation. Shri Jairam Ramesh our erstwhile Minister, MoEF, has himself, very quickly following on from your statement, clarified the basis of the moratorium imposed by him in an open statement, citing the need for independent and long term scientific studies

 

  • The PMO and the UPA are briefed by Industry sources and deeply conflicted Regulators. On the 8th February 2010, two letters were addressed to the Prime Minister by first, 17 international and independent academic scientists and secondly, sent in a sign-on letter to the PM (by civil society spokesmen and prominent persons). Judging from the PM’s comments to the ‘Science’ journal, we doubt whether he has indeed   seen them, and yet, these letters are so important for their implications that we request the PM  to kindly access them. They pertain to a letter written by Shri Prithviraj Chauhan in 2009, when he was MOS in the PMO to Dr A Ramadoss who had expressed his grave reservations on the safety of Bt brinjal. In his reply, Shri Prithviraj Chauhan said “the various issues raised in your letter have been examined carefully and by applying the best scientific evidence available today—”. In short, he went on to fully support the safety testing regulations for GM crops and Bt brinjal in particular, pronouncing Bt brinjal comprehensively safe. However, the source of Shri Chauhan’s letter was the biotech industry; sections of it were excerpted directly from promotional materials from the Industry, in particular ISAAA, (the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications), an organisation that at best can be described as pseudo-scientific, funded primarily by Monsanto and other biotechnology multinational companies and whose admitted purpose is to promote and facilitate the commercial introduction of GM crops in the developing world. Shri Prithviraj Chauhan is not a scientist; but when six National Academies of Sciences similarly encourage the government to vacate the moratorium on GM crops without first addressing safety concerns, through a document that is purportedly scientific, that instead turns out to be similar cut & paste exercise from Industry sources, then it becomes clear that public policy and the basis for it on GM crops is in tatters and our situation is precarious indeed. The information flowing to the Prime Minister is quite simply erroneous. It is pertinent to add that Monsanto and our regulators cannot uphold their extravagant claims of the success of Bt cotton since no attempt has been made by an unconscionable regulator to undertake a post market monitoring of it over the last eight years; but based on official statistics of cotton production, there is reason to believe that current yield is falling to pre-Bt cotton years and the reasons for this have been predicted from empirical evidence of the performance of Bt cotton in other countries, including resistance. We request the PM to kindly take note of this.

 

  • Finally, the evidence against GM crops is overwhelming in that it will not feed the world because it has failed to deliver on yield, traits and sustainability; that evidence is in favour of modern organics and small farmers in the developing world, if only our government will heed and redirect investment into these agro-ecological alternatives. This evidence comes from the UN, the FAO, the World Watch Institute and from the World Bank and UN-led IAASTD (International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development). Twice peer-reviewed, this was a rigorous four-year process in which 400 scientists conducted the most comprehensive assessment of international agricultural technology and the path forward for agriculture for the next 50 years.  India is a signatory to the IAASTD. The ability of agroecology to double food production within 10 years was recently re-affirmed by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.

 

Nuclear Power Plants

 

The Prime Minister similarly criticised NGOs for protesting against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project and stalling development in India, placing the blame on NGOs receiving support from abroad. These are serious charges. We hope very much that there will be no misplaced zeal through a witch hunt of NGOs as a result of your statement. On the other hand, there is genuine and increasing public concern over the potential dangers of nuclear technology, particularly because  the  Indian  nuclear  establishment  is  directed  by  the  government to  expand their nuclear  power  activity on  the  basis  of the  import of untested reactors  and  in the absence of an independent & transparent nuclear safety regulator. No nuclear power plant is 100% safe and for the government to make such statements,  as have been made only recently, stretch  credulity and  come across as glib assurances in the backdrop of especially the  Fukushima (2011) accident, which has  been  particularly devastating and is fresh in people’s minds. The accidents at Three Mile Island (1979) & Chernobyl (1986) also involved human error and weak nuclear safety regulation. Japan is a technologically savvy country. Despite this, they have not been able to respond till date to the sheer scale of the Fukushima disaster to contain its impacts.  In  India ,  with our dense population, our lack of management skills, the unilateral  decision-making  at  the  highest  political  levels  on the purchase of very  complex and  hitherto  untested  nuclear  reactors and technology  systems  without involving the national safety  evaluation  process, refusal  to  constitute  a  totally  independent  and  transparent  nuclear  safety  regulatory  system  in  the  country,  and  our  singularly inefficient disaster mitigation abilities, etc. could  altogether  land  us  in  a  major  nuclear  disaster soon, if these deficiencies are not immediately  corrected. Cost estimates of the Fukushima accident are currently placed at more than US$16 billion and it is still rising. It will take decades to clean up Fukushima and  the  significant  stretch  of  surrounding  areas  of radioactive contamination; and the clean up may never be complete, as evident from the Chernobyl experience  where the Russians are setting up a sarcophagus to shield the stricken reactors from  humanity and the environment.

 

  • Conflict of Interest: Despite an assurance given by the Prime Minister’s office on April 26, 2011 that Action taken on previous safety reviews will be put in the public domain”, neither the DAE nor NPCIL have complied till date, thereby reinforcing public concern about the safety of nuclear plants. NPCIL seems to make a mockery of the spirit of Article 19 of the Constitution that entitles every citizen, as a fundamental right, to be informed about the functioning of any public authority, to the extent that its acts of omission and commission affect individual life. AERB, which is required to oversee and regulate the activities of DAE and NPCIL, continues to be subordinate to DAE and the new regulatory authority bill introduced by DAE before Parliament, furthermore, does not ensure the independence of the regulator from the executive that controls it.

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  • EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) and secrecy: At  many  of  our  nuclear  sites , including  Kudankulam , no  truthful  and  comprehensive EIAs  have  been  made  and  associated  public  hearings  conducted  as  stipulated  by  law. Where  representatives  of  the  local  population  have  prepared  scientific  reports  to  the  best  of  their  ability , on  their  own, on  pertinent  safety  deficiencies  of  a  nuclear  plant , the  DAE  has  ignored  those  reports  and  not  responded  to  the  concerns expressed. A  typical  example  is  the  recent  PMANE  Expert  Group’s  Report  dated  Feb. 12, 2012, which  the  Kudankulam  protest  groups  prepared  and  submitted  to  the  DAE. This  report  highlights serious  questions  about  the  safety  of  the  Kudankulam  site  based on  geotechnical  and  oceanographic  considerations, backed  by  independent and  scientific  data  and  publications  from  academic  and  research  institutions. Through  all  this , the  AERB  which  must  come  forth  and  defend  the  safety  of  these  plants,  has maintained  a  stony silence , whereas, in  any  civilized  country, it  is  the  regulator’s  duty  to  defend  what  they  have  approved  as  safe. In  India , it  is  because   the  AERB  is  a  captive  regulator  who  seeks  permission  of  the  DAE  before  they  speak  publicly  on  any  issue .

 

  • Safety Issues:  Let us be clear that nuclear power, like most other power technologies, is not 100% safe and can never be. But, given that the downside risk of a nuclear accident can be immeasurable and the empirical evidence from the  past  three core meltdowns the  world  has  witnessed  reinforces such a possibility, how safe it can be will depend on the integrity of our regulators  and  our  leaders  who  on the other hand are  constantly  manipulating  the  system, including  the  safety  regulator. Our  government  has  not  yet  realised  that  there  is  a  strong  positive  correlation  between  the  transparency  of  a  safety  regulator  and  the  degree  of  eventual  safety  obtained. While  the  public  is  kept entirely in  the  dark  on  how  safety  is  assured, the  Prime  Minister   personally continues  to  endorse the  relentless claims  of  the  DAE  and  NPCIL that nuclear power technology is 100% safe. On that basis there is little reason for comfort. The enactment of the current civil liability law by the government betrays the PM’s stance on safety claims. The government has gone out of its  way to bow to the pressures and demands  exerted by the US and western MNCs to ensure that the Civil Nuclear Liability Law shields reactor suppliers from accident liability in excess of the ridiculously low cap of Rs. 1500 crores (equivalent to US$ 300 million). Evidently, foreign reactor suppliers themselves are not as confident as the  PM  seems  to  be  of the safety of their own reactors and want the Indian tax payer to bear what could be an astronomical part  of  the  liability  in  case  of  a  nuclear  accident. The latest estimate of the Fukushima liability has touched US$16 billion, compared to the cap of US$300 million imposed by the civil nuclear liability law that the Indian government has enacted. Furthermore, yielding further to MNCs’ pressures, the government has framed the rules under the liability law, exceeding the limits set by the law itself, imposing limitations on the definition of “consequential” costs and the time span within which the Indian operator can prefer accident claims against reactor suppliers. The easy terms that the Indian   government has agreed to in this matter are truly a national betrayal; a constitutional aberration in letter and spirit.

 

As far as Kudankulam – Units 1 & 2 are  concerned,  the sketchy  EIA report completed  several  years  ago  does not contain a comprehensive risk analysis, estimation  of the probabilities of  core-meltdown  or  major  radioactive  releases , the  factoring  in  of  potential  human  errors, or  a  proper  site  evaluation  from  the  geotechnical  &  oceanography  points  of  view . We  believe  not  even  a  cursory  examination  of  such  issues  was  done  when  the  site  was  finalised,  or  thereafter. Even if NPCIL claims that such an analysis has been carried out, they have not placed it in the public domain. When DAE & NPCIL choose to function in a shroud of secrecy with the implicit approval of the Prime Minister, it hardly seems fair or prudent on the part of the   government to demand that the people who are going to be directly affected should refrain from raising their concerns. Why should this be? If the government has decided to investigate NGOs who have allegedly received foreign funding, it is appropriate and even more necessary to investigate thoroughly, the circumstances under which unusual accommodation with western MNCs has been made by the same government.

 

  • Contracts, procedural flaws: We have reason to believe that established procedures for awarding contracts to MNCs for the supply of reactors and fuel to Jaitapur, Kovvada and other “nuclear parks” are being   flouted under a cloak of secrecy. We understand that the AERB, which is subordinate ultimately  to  the  PMO, through  the  AEC ,  had no say in these  purchase  decisions  and  they  were  never  asked  to  evaluate  the  safety  of  these  reactors . These are serious matters which require to be scrutinised.

 

  • Sources of power for India and the German example: The German government, heeding the lessons of Fukushima and a citizenry that demanded the required response, has already decided to totally exit nuclear power. With a current share of nuclear energy of 26%, Germany will move to a nuclear share of zero in ten years, substituting instead renewables like wind, PV and solar thermal. India’s share of nuclear by contrast is currently 2.5%, and may rise   to a maximum of around 7% or 64,000 MW by 2032. The contrast with Germany between our nature-endowed potential for renewables excluding big hydro, and of course nuclear, is even greater. A further insight into the energy equation demonstrates that we are one of the least efficient producers and users of electricity. On one dimension alone ie T&D losses, if we move to limit these to 10% in the next ten years (which is still higher than South Korea and the developed countries , where  it  is  about   5 % ), we will save over 150,000 MW of power, completely dwarfing the meagre 64,000 MW that nuclear will produce in aggregate. The key question is why has our government not produced a comprehensive White Paper on India’s Energy Policy, including Nuclear Power? The  blame  for  this  rests  entirely  at  the  Prime  Minister’s  doorstep , because  he  is  not  only  the  PM , but  also  the  responsible  Cabinet  Minister  for  Atomic  Energy. But , with  the  serious  collusions  taking  place  in  this  sector  between  the  government, foreign & Indian  corporate  entities, a  handful  of  bought-out  senior  nuclear scientists  &  bureaucrats, and  others,  the  Prime  Minister  finds  it  convenient  NOT  to  have  a  nuclear  power  policy  on  paper , but  run  this  sector  to  suit  everyone’s  whims  and  fancies. By acceding to importing reactors and fuel on such a large scale from France and other countries, has the government not jeopardised India’s national, and  especially  energy, security? Which  NGO  will  the  PM  point  a  finger  at  for  this  unpardonable  lapse?  Would  the  Prime  Minister consider  initiating  a  thorough  investigation  of  the  omissions  and  commissions  of  officials  in  the  PMO, the  Chairmen &  Members  of  the  Atomic  Energy  Commissions and  the  corporate  business  federations  in  India  and  their  foreign  collaborators and others, during  the 2005-2011  period  when  feverish in-camera  proceedings  were  taken  up  by  the  UPA  governments  on  the  Indo-US  Nuclear  Deal  and  its  implementation?