Thursday, August 9, 2012

Vidarbha Farmers welcomes Parliamentary Panel Report on Bt cotton

Vidarbha Farmers welcomes Parliamentary Panel Report
on Bt cotton and Bt.Brinjal

Nagpur -August 10, 2012

A parliamentary panel headed by MP Basudeb Acharia  who visited agrarian crisis and farm suicide capital of India vidarbha has truly represented the sentiments of vidarbha  and reasons economic collapse resulting actuate distress and debt forcing more than 10,000 Bt.cotton farmers suicides  recommended study of socio-economic and health impact of Bt.cotton seed and complete  probe into the issue of Bt Brinjal, saying that adequate tests had not been carried out and the approval committee was under "Tremendous Pressure" from the "Industry and a Minister" to approve it, , Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti chief Kishore Tiwari informed today..

‘3 million distressed Vidarbha cotton farmers are today happy that their pain and focus of agrarian crisis has been truly reflected in the parliamentary panel report which was missing in all earlier fact finding committees and even prime minister relief packages hence we are indebted to MP Basudeb Acharia   and all other 31 MPs who have across party line endorsed truth’ Tiwari added.

“The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture’s report on GM crops a historic, comprehensive and well-grounded document and has thrown light on fact agrarian crisis in India are matter of concern of law makers and policy promoters not  MNC base technology  promoting scientific community  involved in  blind promotion of the technology is unscientific to say the least as parliament  Committee have criticized the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation for having failed to discharge its mandated responsibilities, in so far as, the introduction of transgenic agricultural crops in India is concerned, as a policy matter.  They ignored the farmers’ profile in India i.e. 70% of them being small and marginal ones, levels of mechanization, non-availability of irrigation facilities, the cost-benefit analysis, the uncertainty of yield, loss to biodiversity, etc. They have, therefore, recommended an in depth probe to track the decision making involved in commercial release of Bt. cotton including how Bt. cotton became a priority when the avowed goal of introduction of transgenic in agricultural crops was to ensure and maintain food security ”Tiwari added.

Vidarbha cotton farmers has drawn the attention of parliament committee report regarding impact on  animal Feeding on Bio-safety Studies with Biotechnologically Transformed Bt. Cotton Crop Seed Meal’ conducted in 2008 that there was increase in liver weight, testicle weight, testicle fat and RBC in blood and decrease in WBC in blood in the lambs fed with Bt. cotton seed, the Committee have recommended a professional evaluation of these developments, their possible causes and consequences by an expert committee comprising of eminent scientists from ICMR, pathologists, veterinarians and nutritionists. Further, noting that the data in the Study Report pertaining to kidney weight, spleen weight, heart weight, lung weight, kidney fat, cole fat, pancreas and penis weight also shows variations in Bt. cotton seed fed lambs, the Committee have also recommended a relook by the expert committee constituted for the purpose into all these findings and apprise them about their evaluation and interpretation of the data at the soonest.   The Committee have also sought the considered views of RCGM and GEAC on this Food Study Report and how it fared in their consideration while deciding the biosafety and health safety aspects of Bt. Cotton hence we demand complete environmental impact assessment on this issue ,Tiwari added.

“Vidarbha has been classic example of promotion of wrong technology in unregulated manner which has been reflected in the parliament committee report which noted that it is evident that  the grossly inadequate and antiquated regulatory mechanism for assessment and approval of transgenics in food crops; the serious conflict of interest of various stakeholders involved in the regulatory mechanism; the total lack of post commercialization, monitoring and surveillance, the Committee have felt that  in such a situation what the Country needs is not a bio-technology regulatory legislation  but an all encompassing umbrella legislation on bio-safety which is focused on ensuring the bio-safety, biodiversity, human and livestock health, environmental protection and which specifically describes the extent to which bio-technology, including modern bio-technology, fits in the scheme of things, without compromising with the safety of any of the elements mentioned above.  They have, therefore, recommended to the Government, with all the power at their command, to immediately evolve such a legislation after due consultation with all stakeholders and bring it before the Parliament without any further delay.    The Committee have also cautioned the Government that in their tearing hurry to open the economy to private prospectors, they should not make the same fate befall on the agriculture sector, as has happened to the communications, pharma, mineral wealth and several other sectors in which the Government’s facilitative benevolence preceded setting up of sufficient checks and balances and regulatory mechanisms, thereby, leading to colossal, unfettered loot and plunder of national wealth in some form or the other, incalculable damage to environment, bio-diversity, flora and fauna and unimaginable suffering to the common man which is very serious issue  hence we demand separate commission of enquiry of the damages ” Tiwari added.

“We are happy that 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 will help parliament to lok in to the ground reality and  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 to vidarbha villages, 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, hence we demand immediate intervention ’Tiwari urged.

No comments: