Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), spearheading the movement against introduction of genetically modified (GM) food crops in the country, will meet MPs of to all political parties and urge them to ensure that Biotechnology Regulatory Bill of India (BRAI), 2011, was not tabled in the forthcoming budget session of the Parliament.
Talking to The Indian Express after a two-day seminar on “GM Crops and Food Security” that concluded at the Gujarat Vidyapith here on Friday, BKS general secretary Mohini Mohan Mishra demanded a biosafety bill to be passed to ensure that the food made available to the people did not harm their health.
BKS is organising such seminar all over the country to bring pressure on the Centre not to allow GM food crops which they claim would destroy the local varieties and bring agriculture under control of overseas corporates.
Saying that problem in India was not that of production but storage and distribution, he said while India required 87 million tonnes of grains annually for its consumption, it produced 257 million tonnes every year. But the country, he said, had 46 per cent storage capacity and needed Rs 8,000 crore to create storage facilities for the rest of production and it could easily be made available by the Centre whose annual budget was more than Rs 15 lakh crore.
He alleged that GM was nothing but a conspiracy of the multinationals to take control over country’s agriculture and make easy money.
Earlier, speaking at the seminar, biotechnology expert Suman Sahay representing “Gene Campaign” said there was no evidence to prove that GM technology increased the crop yield. She said those claiming that it enhanced production were, in reality, misguiding the people.
Claiming that conservation of biodiversity was the only guarantee of food security under the present climatic changes taking place in the country, Sahay said GM technology, if used in food crops, would destroy the indigenous varieties.
Gujarat Biodiversity Board member A P Singh supported the view of Sahay that indigenous varieties and breeds needed to be protected under any circumstances. He cautioned that if GM technology failed at some of time, further researches on food crops would not be possible if the country lost indigenous varieties.
Stating that agriculture technology had to be sustainable, Centre for Environment Education director Kartikeya Sarabhai expressed the fear that India would lose 5000 years of knowledge on food crops if GM technology was introduced without proper study.