Farmers protest against BRAI Bill
A group of farmers staged a demonstration outside the residence of Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda here on Monday. They were protesting against the Biotech Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill that is scheduled to be tabled in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
“The Chief Minister should have written to the Prime Minister by now pointing out the flaws in the Bill and listed out reasons why it needs to be scrapped. Why is the Government, which has an organic farming policy, keeping silent on the issue?” asked Kodihalli Chandrasekhar, president of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS).
G. Krishna Prasad, Director of Sahaja Samrudha, said,“The BRAI Bill is obviously being pushed to bulldoze our concerns. There is already much evidence to show that GM food causes adverse impacts and in the case of Bt. brinjal also, after biosafety data was ordered to be put out in the public domain by the Supreme Court, independent analysis confirmed the lack of safety of Bt. Brinjal. This is exactly what the people pushing this Bill are afraid of. The Bill and its clauses around transparent functioning actually defy Supreme Court order which has already ruled that biosafety data is not treated as confidential commercial information”.
“The Centre, with the expediency clause wants to keep regulatory control with itself. This is ridiculous given that it has been acknowledged recently that agriculture being a State subject, farmers should have a say in the regulatory decisions pertaining to GM foods. How can the BRAI Bill seek to reverse such positive developments, if not for the fear of rejection from everywhere?” said Manjunatha of Samvada.