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Philippines Court of Appeals BAN ALL FIELD TRIALS OF Bt BRINJAL

Greenpeace India welcomes the decision, urges the Indian government to take notice and stop open releases of GM crops in our country

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

New Delhi: In a welcome development the Court of Appeals in Phillipines issued a writ of Kalikasan(a constitutional provision for a citizen’s right to safe environment), ordering the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other concerned government agencies in Philippines to stop field trials of Genetically Modified Bt Brinjal. The court took this decision keeping in mind the constitutional right of every Filipino citizen to a healthy and balanced ecology. Greenpeace South East Asia (Philippines) along with leading civil society organisations in Philippines had filed a petition last year as they argued that the field trials of Bt Brinjal were violating this constitutional right.

Controversial BRAI Bill referred to Parliamentary Standing Committee of Sci &Tech, Env & Forests

Bt Brinjal has been developed by Maharashtra based Indian company Mahyco with propreitory gene of Monsanto. Its commercialisation was put under an indefinite moratorium in India after a widespread public consultation. After their failure to get Bt Brinjal approved in India they had been pushing for its approval in Philippines. It was doing the field trials along with University of Philippines, Losbanos as a step towards that.

“The Philippines court decision to stop field trials of GM crops is a victory of public right to safe food and environment not just in that country but across the world” said Neha Saigal, Sustainable Agriculture campaign, Greenpeace India. She further stated that “It is high time that Indian government also take the cue from the rejection of GM crops from various parts of the world and stop any open release of such risky technologies.”

The GM debate in India has reached a new level with Indian govt sidestepping all opposition to GM crops to bring in a new regulatory system for GMOs called Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI). The legislation for this, BRAI Bill, 2013 has been introduced in the parliament last month amidst wide spread opposition both inside and outside the parliament. The BRAI will become a centralised, non-transparent,  single window clearance system which will lower the bar of GM crop approval in the country. The bill has now been referred to a parliamentary standing committee on Science and Technology and Environment for review and recommendations.

Greenpeace India urges the Members of the Parliamentary standing committee on Science and Technology and Environment to uphold the interests of our citizens and recommend the  withdrawal of the BRAI Bill, 2013. What is needed is a Biosafety Protection legislation to safeguard the health of our citizens, our biodiversity and farm livelihoods against risky technologies like GM crops. This is also inline with India’s commitment to International agreements like the Cartagena protocol on Biosafety.


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