To:

 

Shri Prakash Javadekar,

Minister for Environment, Forests & Climate Change,

Government of India.

Email: pjavadekar@gmail.com

Fax: +91-11-24695329

 

Dear Shri Javadekar,

 

Sub: Stop the invasion of GM mustard on our farms and food plates

 

This is to express our serious opposition to the possible approval of Genetically Modified (GM) Mustard into India, given that there is a report confirming that Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGCMP) transgenic crop developers have moved an application for approval for commercial cultivation of their transgenic mustard hybrid called DMH11. In response to eminent citizens including Padma awardees writing to you expressing their concerns with regard to this GM mustard, on August 1st, you had responded back saying that “there is no application; so the question of allowing does not arise”. So, we knock on your doors once again, given that there is indeed an application now with the regulators.

 

This DMH11, like other GMOs, will have objectionable health and environmental impacts, going by the experience of other similar GMOs like GM canola in other countries. Super weeds are a real problem, in addition to health impacts of herbicides used on such crops. Contamination of other varieties of mustard is inevitable, and as you know, this has serious implications given that India is a Centre of Diversity for mustard.

 

The yield myth around transgenic technology is being thrown around once again, while we know that yields of mustard can be increased by ways other than seed-based solutions; further, if hybrids are to be seen as an option, we also know that non-transgenic hybrids are already available in the market, apart from high yielding varieties. Therefore, this GM mustard is unneeded in the first instance – it is not out of place to remind you that many committees in the country had already recommended that transgenic option should be considered only if no other option is available or feasible. It is unimaginable that the regulators have entertained this application at each stage and allowed it to come to this stage, when policy directives should have been used long ago to stop the onward march of this unneeded and unwanted transgenic crop.

 

This GMO is also unwanted, like all other GMOs in our food and farming systems, as the resounding NO that this country heard from citizens during the Bt brinjal debate, and from the resounding NO emerging from state governments which have even refused to allow field trials of this GMO. In such a situation, it is absolutely unacceptable that the regulators would even consider such an application and process it.

 

Regulators should have used the recommendations that have come out from the judiciary-based, parliamentary and executive inquiry and study processes into the subject of GM crops, all of which recommended against crops like this GM mustard.

 

The safety of this GM mustard is unknown and regulators are hiding important information from the public to protect the interests of crop developers. What exactly is being hidden and why? Why does objectionable conflict of interest continue in the GEAC, with a scientist of CGCMP being a member?

 

We demand that the regulators put out all the biosafety information on this GMO for public scrutiny, as laid down by CIC and Supreme Court Orders in the past.

 

We also warn the government against any moves to approve this GMO – we will not allow the choices of farmers and consumers to be violated by the introduction of an unsafe, irreversible and uncontrollable technology; we demand that the regulators do not process this application. It is within your capacity to intervene at this stage and ensure that the regulators – who have time and again proven their apathy, incapability, conflict of interest, lack of scientificity and lack of transparency – do not go against public interest in any way.

 

Sincerely,

 

1)    Aaroh Campaign, Uttar Pradesh

2)    Abhishek Joshi, Sarson Satyagraha (a pan-Indian Alliance)

3)    Anant Bhoyar, Gavkus Group, Nagpur, Maharashtra

4)    Ananthasayanan, Safe Food Alliance, Chennai

5)    Anil Kumar, PWESCR, Delhi

6)    Anita Paul, Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation, Uttarakhand

7)    Anna Suraksha Adhikaar Abhiyan, Gujarat

8)    Aruna Rodrigues, Sunray Harvesters, Madhya Pradesh

9)    Aruna Roy, Shankar Singh and Nikhil Dey, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS)

10)  Balaji Shankar, Tharchaarbu Iyakkam

11)  Banuben Said, Malia Mahila Shakti Sangathan, Gujarat

12)  Bhakar Bhitrot Adiwasi Vikas Manch, Rajasthan

13)  Bharat Beej Swaraj Manch (pan-Indian network of seed savers)

14)  Bharat Mansata, Vanvadi Agro-ecological Regeneration Association (VARA), Maharashtra

15)  Binni Azad, SHARC, Jharkhand

16)  Caring Citizens’ Collective, Telangana

17)  Chandra, Women Education And Economic Development Trust

18)  Chitrakshi Jain, Centre for Social Justice, Ahmedabad

19)  D V Sreedhar, Goodnews India Foundation

20)  Debashis Ray, Caregiver Trust, Kolkata

21)  Dr Ashok Bang & Niranjana Maru, Chetana Vikas, Maharashtra

22)  Dr Asish Ghosh, ENDEV-A Society for Environment & Development, Kolkata

23)  Dr Debal Deb, Basudha, Odisha

24)  Dr Janak Palta McGilligan, Jimmy McGilligan Centre For Sustainable Development, Madhya Pradesh

25)  Dr Krishan Bir Chaudhary, President, Bhartiya Krishak Samaj

26)  Dr Mira Shiva, Doctors for Food Safety & Biosafety

27)  Dr Nandita Shah, SHARAN, Auroville

28)  Dr Pushpa Mittra Bhargava, Former Director and Founder of CCMB, Hyderabad

29)  Dr Rukmini Rao, Raithu Swarajya Vedika, Telangana

30)  Dr Safique Ul Alam and Soumitro Banerjee, The Breakthrough Science Society (BSS), Kolkata

31)  Dr Vandana Shiva, Navdanya

32)  Ekal Nari Shakti Sanghatan, Jharkhand

33)  Food Sovereignty Alliance, Telangana/Andhra Pradesh

34)  Fuliben Nayak, Ratanmahal Adivasi Mahila Sajive Khet Utpadak ane Vechan Mandli, Gujarat

35)  G John, Thread

36)  Gopal Krishna, Toxics Watch Alliance (TWA)

37)  Gopi Devarajan, Organic Farmers Market

38)  Guliben Nayak, Devgadh Mahila Sangathan, Gujarat

39)  H R Prakash, ARTIC, Andhra Pradesh

40)  Hiral Dave, Cohesion Foundation Trust, Gujarat

41)  Indira, Food Security Army, Kerala

42)  Iykiya Vivasayegal Sangam

43)  Jagannathan, Nalla Keerai, Thiruvellore

44)  Janakiraman, Umblacherry Native Cattle Breeders Association

45)  K Jagadeesan, Advisor, Federation of Tamil Nadu Rice Mill Owners’ Association

46)  Kalpana Sathish, ROOTS Network of Women Farmers, Tamil Nadu

47)  Kalpavriksh, Pune/Delhi

48)  Kapil Shah, Jatan Trust, Gujarat

49)  Karpagam, Point Return, Maduranthagam

50)  Karthikeya Sivasenapathy & Himakiran Anugula, Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation

51)  Kavitha Kuruganti, ASHA (Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture)

52)  Lakshman Singh Muniya, Beej Swaraj Abhiyan, Madhya Pradesh

53)  Local Futures/International Society for Ecology and Culture

54)  Mahila Umang, Uttarakhand

55)  Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd), Karnataka

56)  Manvendra Singh, Greenpeace India

57)  Naresh Save and Ashok Sanghavi, Bhaskar Save Natural Farming Training Centre, Valsad, Gujarat

58)  North East Network, Nagaland

59)  NTUI, Delhi

60)  Oswald Quintal, Director, Kudumbam

61)  P Srinivas Vasu, SOIL, Karnataka

62)  Pamayan, Thaalanmai Uzhavar Iyakam

63)  Pankaj Bhushan, GM Free Bihar Movement

64)  Ponnuthai, Kalanjium Women Farmers’ Association

65)  Poonam Kathuria, SWATI organisation

66)  Prasad Chacko, Human Development and Research Centre, Ahmedabad

67)  Rachna Arora, Convener, Public Awareness on GM Food

68)  Radha Holla, independent researcher, Delhi

69)  Radhika Rammohan, Restore, Chennai

70)  Rajesh Krishnan, Coalition for a GM-Free India

71)  Rajinder Chaudhary, Advisor, Kudrati Kheti Abhiyan, Haryana

72)  Ramasubramanian, Samanvaya Consulting, Chennai

73)  Ramesh Chandran, ANANTHA

74)  Reetu Sogani, Chintan International Trust, Uttarakhand

75)  Richa Audichya, Jan Chetna Sansthan

76)  ROOTS, Tamil Nadu

77)  SAI Sanctuary Trust, Karnataka

78)  Sangeetha Sriram, Restore Gardens, Chennai

79)  Saraswati, Women’s Coalition for Change, Tamil Nadu

80)  Sardabai Garasia, Tribal Saving and Credit Cooperative Society

81)  Sarmibai Garasia, Tribal Tendupatta Collectors Cooperative Society

82)  Saroj Mohanty, Paschim Odisha Krushak Sangathan Samanvay Samithi, Odisha

83)  Sarson Satyagraha (a pan-Indian alliance)

84)  Seetha Ananthasivan, Bhoomi Network, Bangalore

85)  Sejal Dave, Area Networking and Development Initiative-ANANDI

86)  SEWA-Kerala

87)  Shalini Bhutani, Campaign for Conservation and Community Control over Biodiversity

88)  Shanthi G, Rural Women’s Liberation Movement

89)  Sheelu Francis, Women’s Collective

90)  Shramajivi Mahila Samithy, Jharkhand

91)  Siva Senapathy Natarajan, Bargur Malai Madu Vazapoor Sangam

92)  Soma KP, CAWL Rights (Collective for Advancement of Womens Land and Livelihoods Rights)

93)  Soumik Banerjee, Swala Kisan Sangathan, Sundarpahari-Godda, Jharkhand

94)  Srinath, Tula Foundation

95)  Stella, Kalanjium Unorganised Union

96)  Subhash Mehta, Devarao Shivaram Trust, NGO Associationf or Agricultural Research Asia Pacific (NAARAP)

97)  Sundari, Tamilnadu Resource Team

98)  Sunita Rao, Vanastree, Karnataka

99)  Suresh Kanna, SAGE Tamil Nadu Chapter

100)                Suresh Lakshmipathy, Go Organic Life

101)                Valliammal, Tamil Nadu Dalit Women’s Movement

102)                Venkat, State Alliance of People’s Movements, Tamil Nadu

103)                Vimala, Tamil Nadu Women’s Forum, Tamil Nadu

104)                Tamilnadu Green Movement

105)                Tamilnadu Organic Farmers’ Federation

106)                Thirumalai, Nalla Sandhai, Thiruvellore

107)                Umendra Dutt, Kheti Virasat Mission, Punjab

108)                Usha Kumari, Thanal, Kerala

109)                Vasant Futane, Vidarbha Organic Farmers Study Group

110)                Vasu, Rural Workers’ Movement, Tamil Nadu

111)                Vinish Gupta, Jeevanshala Trust, Sirsi, Karntaka

112)                Vinita Mansata, Earthcare Books, Kolkata

113)                Vishal Vijay Ghodke, Naturesgram, Maharasthra

114)                Wekowe-u Tsuhah, North East Network