Dec 17, 2009

College students padyatra in Old Walled City of Delhi on Bt brinjal

I haven't seen this happening for long. College students in a colorful and long padayatra snaking through the narrow lanes of the Walled City of Delhi, stopping consumers and explaining about GM foods to them. If you walked through the meandering lanes of old Delhi, around the area popularly called Chandni Chowk, you can imagine what a treat it must be to see the young students flashing placards and distributing leaflets to ignorant citizens.

More than 600 students from Zakir Hussain College and Youth for Safe Food walked through the streets of old Delhi distributing pamphlets and interacting with curious onlookers as to what Bt brinjal meant to them. I spoke to Ankit and Radha, the two amazing youngsters who have been relentlessly on their toes mobilising the young college students about the inherent dangers from Bt brinjal, and they told me that it was a spectacular padyatra. They strongly feel that this is perhaps one of the best ways to reach out to public and create an informed debate about safe food.

I am sure in the days to come we will see more colleges and youth organisation taking to streets creating awareness about the havoc that awaits the society with the introduction of GM food crops into the country.

Here is a press release about the padyatra:

New Delhi, December 17th 2009: A Lok Chetna Padayatra with more than 500 youth participating in it, reached out to citizens of the Old City of Delhi to create awareness on the issue of GM foods and Bt Brinjal in particular here today. The padayatra, taken out by the students of Zakir Husain College and Youth for Safe Food put out information on GM foods and about Bt Brinjal in particular to the residents of the Old City of Delhi and contended that creating an informed debate on the issue is the only democratic way forward for decision-making on GM foods like Bt Brinjal.

“A majority of the countries around the world do not allow GM crop cultivation and many aware citizens are exercising their right to safe food because informed debates have allowed them to make such decisions. We realize the importance of such a debate in India too at this juncture, as the government is trying to decide on whether Bt Brinjal should be approved or not. Let us remember that GE seeds constitute an irreversible technology and therefore, a very cautious approach is the only wise way forward” said Dr Mohd. Aslam Parvaiz. “We need ordinary citizens to get involved in decision-making related to something as basic as the food that we eat for our sustenance and survival and we hope that this padayatra will contribute to citizens making informed choices about their food”, he added.

Bt Brinjal has been cleared by the Indian regulators in October 2009 amidst concerns and reservations expressed from various quarters. No such GM vegetable has ever been introduced anywhere else in the world and no GM foods have been allowed for cultivation in India so far.

"Bt Brinjal has been developed in India despite the fact that we are the Centre of Origin & Diversity for this crop. All clearances have been given based on the crop developer’s data and there are several reports which show that objectionable conflicting interests were allowed to drive the decision-making for recommending Bt Brinjal. Media reports showed the Chairperson of an Expert Committee which had cleared Bt Brinjal himself expressing the need for more tests on this new product and he had gone on record to say that we do not know at this point of time how much damage these foods will cause.

He clearly reiterated what many scientists around the world are concerned about – that GE foods are not equal to normal foods. Further, no long term studies exist so far on Bt Brinjal to assess its chronic impacts and there is a serious dearth of independent research to prove its safety. Worse, independent analyses of the crop developer’s data show that it is unsafe for human and animal health. It is in the context of all this knowledge existing with us that we decided to reach out to fellow citizens so that they can make informed decisions about this matter”, said Nayani Nasa of Youth for Safe Food.


Ripesh Kumar said...

Dear all,,
Please stop India from underdevelopment, Let Framers to become prosperous , I don't know why this kind of organisation are stopping Indian farmers from prosperity and happiness.. Some private organisation like Mahyco is doing some sort of wonderfull things for Indian farmers, why these fraud (in the sense of working) is trying to pull legs of framers. Best of Luck to Mahyco India, and may god give some sort of sense to NGO's and Govt of India..... Please if you people can't to do anything good for farmers, then please for god sake don't make things worse for farmers... please come to any village of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab etc Bt cotton growing state and see what the difference bollgard technology (Bt) and Mahyco have done. Let farmers to make decision not those people, who even not yet have visited a single village,,, please you people looks better in Air Condition rooms

Julian Rose said...

Mr Ripesh Kumar is clearly entirely ignorant concerning science, biology, economy, ecology and human health. In all these spheres GMO seeds, plants and foods have left a trail of destruction behind them wherever they have been introduced. I have personally met farmers who have been threatened by the MONSANTO CORPORATION
for growing GM plants that cross contaminated these farmers' fields from neighbouring farms. Monsanto refused to accept this cross contamination and sued the affected farmers for growing GM crops patented by them: MONSANTO - accusing the farmers of growing their crops without paying the royalties.
Mr Kumar, at the very least you could study the writings of Dr Jeffrey Smith on this subject. He has researched the effect of GM crops on a worldwide basis and has meticulously documented the results.
Indian farmers and citizens deserve to know the truth and not have the wool pulled over their eyes by those who are in the pay of corporate dictators.