Various organisation representatives of “Joint Action Committee Against the Introduction of GM Foods like Bt Brinjal” submitted a memorandum to His Excellency Lt. Governor’ s office on 09.02.2010 pressing not to allow Bt Brinjal. They also handed over the thousands of signatures obtained from the village people and farmers.
The Committee comprises with 13 organisations: Puduvai Ariviyal Iyakkam, Poovulakin Nanpargal, Sempadugai Nanneeragam, Confederation of Puducherry State Govt Employees, Phoenix Science Forum, Kalanjiyam Organic Farmers’ Association, Federation for People’s Rights (FPR), Puducherry, LIC Employees’ Union, Samam Makalir Suyasarbu Iyakkam, All India Kisan Sabha, Puducherry, Teachers’ Association, Puducherry, Centre for Ecology & Rural Development, Murpokku Ezhuthaalar Sangam.
Your Excellency might be aware that the United Nations Organization have announced the year 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity. But thousands of our traditional Brinjal varieties are facing severe danger of being becoming extinct due to the introduction of the genetically modified (GM) BT Brinjal by the Union Government, if it goes ahead with the approval of this GM crop.
We, the citizens and civil society organizations of Puducherry request the Union and State governments not to allow this extreme step which will completely erase the diversity of not only the Brinjal crop but other vegetables species like Potato, Tomato etc. which fall in the same family of Brinjal.
In BT Brinjal, a gene from the bacteria Bacillus Thuringeinsis (BT) which occur in the soil in trace quantities are extracted and introduced into the DNA of Brinjal where the BT toxin is introduced into the whole plant. This BT is known to be active against the major pest of Brinjal, the fruit bore worm but not against lots of other pests of the plant.
Already leading scientists like Dr.Pushpa Bhargava (former Director of the Central for Cellular Molecular Biology (CCMB, Hyderabad & Member of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee), Dr.M.S.Swaminathan (MSSRF) etc have expressed that the BT Brinjal or any other GM foods should not be allowed to be introduced in India for lack of adequate and transparent testing by public sector laboratories.
Already states like Orissa, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Bihar, Kerala have banned the crops in their respective states. Large number of biotechnologists and Agricultural Universities have come openly against this. Organisations like World Health Organisation (WHO) and many countries including many states in the US have not allowed introduction of GM crops. The impact of high doses of BT in the soil could also harm the soil bacteria, earthworms and other macro fauna and adequate studies have not been conducted in these aspects.
In this context, we the voluntary organizations in Puducherry request the Government of Puducherry and Government of India not to allow the introduction of BT Brinjal or for that matter any other GM food crops in our soil as India is one of the rare countries where the majority of vegetable and plant biodiversity in the world still exists.
In line with as many as 10 states have banned the entry of the genetically modified crop BT Brinjal in their respective states, we earnestly request His Excellency to ban the GM BT Brinjal in Puducherry also thereby protecting the interests of not only the farming community but also the population of Puducherry from the short term and long term ill-effects it could cause.