Dear Shri Jairam Ramesh jee,
Feb 5, 2010 - Since the approval of the Bt brinjal as a food crop by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) in October 14, 2009, there has been series of public resentments and protests all over the country.
We appreciate your decision to withheld the release of Bt brinjal and go for public consultations. By now after public consultations in different parts of the country, we are sure that you must have personally felt the nature of public opposition to this genetically engineered food crop. The opposition is on the basis of sound scientific evidences and genuine concerns for food and environment safety.
Responsible citizens came on their own to oppose the introduction of Bt brinjal. The outburst of protest was severe in Kolkata. Similar protests by farmers, health experts, consumers were noticed in Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Chandigarh, Hyderabad. In Nagpur, the Maharashtra unit of Bharatiya Krishak Samaj met you and submitted a memorandum. The outfits of several political parties ranging from the right wing BJP and the Left parties are opposed to the introduction of Bt brinjal.
India is the centre of origin for brinjal. As farmers we are very much concerned that by genetic contamination by Bt brinjal many indigenous varieties may become extinct. Brinjal is also valued for its medicinal value in ancient systems of medicine and hence introduction of Bt brinjal will be a problem. Introduction of Bt brinjal will violate the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety to which India is a signatory
Way back in June 22, 2006, I wrote to the GEAC chairperson expressing my concerns. Reply to this letter which came about a year late in March 30, 2007 was evasive on many points I had raised.
There is no shortage of brinjal in the country. Rather this crop is grown in excess of demand leading to wastages. The advocates of Bt brinjal are putting up false claims of protecting the crop from fruit and shoot borer. There are 15 pests attacking brinjal. The farmers are successfully using conventional methods to control all these pests.
We are concerned that introduction of Bt brinjal will have adverse impact on soil microbial species, soil nutrients and micro flora. Bt is a proven toxin. Sheep and goats grazing over Bt cotton field died and GEAC turned a Nelson eye to these incidents which occurred in various parts of the country.
We have with us extensive studies done by independent scientists across the world pointing to the health and ecological hazards of Bt crops. The company data on biosafety are inadequate to address these problems. We urge you to stop the introduction of Bt brinjal
With warm regards
Dr KRISHAN BIR CHAUDHARY
Bharatiya Krishak Samaj
F-1/A Pandav Nagar, Delhi - 110091
& Tele/Fax 22751281