Kisan Sangh for ‘Right to Seeds’
   30-Jul-2019
 
Agriculture /Report

 
 Bharatiya Kisan Sangh delegates from across the country at the National Executive meeting in Patna
 
 
Demanding stringent action against the HTBT seed developers, who released their seeds to farmers without proper testing and required permissions, the National Executive of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh pushed for ‘Right to Seeds’ for farmers
 
 
Dr Pramod Kumar
 
 
Demanding immediate inquiry into the illegal distribution of HTBT Cotton seeds among farmers, the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) demanded stringent action against the HTBT seed developers, who released their seeds illegally to farmers without proper testing and required permissions. The decision to this effect was taken at the Executive meeting of the BKS held in Patna from July 5 to 7. About 140 delegates from across the country attended the meeting.
 
In a resolution, passed at the Executive Meeting, the BKS also sought immediate ban on highly carcinogenic Glyphosate. “Anyone smuggling Glyphosate into farms must be punished with not less than life imprisonment,” the resolution said. The BKS also demanded dismantling of GEAC and creation of a rigorous mechanism at government level to check such ‘criminal activities’. The BKS wants the companies creating a mobocracy-like situation in Bharatiya farming sector should be blacklisted, banned and thrown out of the country.
 
Talking to Organiser in Delhi, senior BKS leader Shri Mohini Mohan Mishra said the HTBT Cotton in Maharashtra and BT Brinjal in Haryana are today the hot topics of discussion. Writings in their favour are surfacing in various national and local newspapers. Discussions are on within organisations also. From media to Members of Parliament, farmer groups to bureaucrats and scientists to non-governmental agencies are all trying to take a side on it. But the seed companies silently seem busy in formulating strategies to push their harmful seeds to the Indian markets. HTBT is herbicide-tolerant and in this technology the farmers have to use herbicide called Glyphosate to kill the plants. “This variety has neither been permitted nor notified. So, cultivation of this variety is illegal and a criminal act. This technology is uncontrollable, non-correctable, irreversible and unpredictable. Pink bollworm has developed resistance against the BT Cotton and is now becoming an uncontrollable problem in our country. Likewise, the weeds to be killed by this carcinogenic chemical are surely developing resistance against the chemically developing super-weeds that can’t be controlled any means,” the BKS said in the resolution.
 
Having failed to get success through the legal route, these companies adopted a serious illegal route to introduce their cancerous technology in the Indian market. By doing this they are not selling seeds and chemicals, but various types of cancer free of cost to the farmers and the consumers. For the last few years, they have been trying to indulge such mobocracy and choose the election period systematically to push it by challenging our legal system and sovereignty. They are trying to lynch our biodiversity and convert democracy into a banana republic. Even they are trying to create a civil conflict like situation among farmers, scientists, bureaucrats, politicians, intellectuals, column writers, etc. Interestingly, these mob-lynchers are openly threatening to lynch our legal system including seed sovereignty and our biodiversity, and no legal agency has taken any action against them. “When we claim that our country is in safe hands, how come the agencies like GEAC could not smell such a big conspiracy and took no action against the offenders,” the resolution said.
 
Register FIRs against the scientists indulging in illegal HT cotton cultivation
 
A group of agriculture scientists and foresters under the banner of Krishi Vaigyanik Vichar Manch, Nagpur, wrote to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Devendra Fadnavis demanding immediate FIRs against the scientists, organisations and companies which are indulging in illegal HT cotton cultivation. The main points in their demands are:
  • HT cotton is being sought to be introduced by the biotech industry even though Bt cotton has failed in its claims
  • People who are encouraging farmers to plant HT BT cotton are misleading them
  • In India, the regulators have not done any scientific evaluation or review of BT cotton after approving it. Monsanto is hiding data on BT cotton. The Cry protein is no longer able to kill the target pest and therefore, more genes are being added to increase the toxicity
  • The GEAC's assessment of the safety and efficacy of the super toxins on which Monsanto obtained its patent, is very poor
  • There was no scientific basis for GEAC’s green signal to BT cotton, BT Brinjal or GM mustard and it was only citizen's alertness and struggle that made the government stop the approvals given by the regulators. It is not clear what are the lobbies that are influencing the GEAC
  • Even though there has been no approval for HT cotton cultivation, MNCs and some organisations are trying to bring it in through the backdoor. They are deploying the same strategy that they used to introduce BT cotton into India
  • The evidence with HT crops is in front of us—super-weeds get created, and other (non-GM) crops get destroyed. Glyphosate affects soil, other living organisms, and human health. In March 2015, 17 scientists from 11 countries studied the effects of glyphosate and concluded that it is a probable human carcinogen.
  • American courts are awarding millions of dollars of compensation to cancer-affected individuals due to glyphosate. There are 14000 cases pending in the courts. It is now well known that the company (Monsanto) hid lot of information that it was privy to about lack of safety of Glyphosate and the courts have come to know about this now
  • Shetkari Sanghatana is also aware of all these facts and the dangers. It is a mystery why they are still asking for HT cotton seeds, and why are they misleading the farmers
  • In India, apart from two Parliamentary Committees which have said No to HT crops, the MS Swaminathan-led Task Force has also recommended against the deployment of herbicide-tolerant crops in the country
  • There is an ongoing Supreme Court case where all evidence are being reviewed by the Court. By growing illegal and unauthorised HT crops, Shetkari Sanghatana is showing disrespect to the Court
  • What we are witnessing currently is abetment to a criminal or illegal activity and cases have to be filed to deal with this.
  • It is companies like Monsanto and Bayer which have destroyed straight line varieties that used to be available for farmers in the country. They have thereby taken away the autonomy of farmers, and farmers are paying a heavy price for this. This is a ploy to destroy our farmers, environment and agriculture.
 
Keeping in view this whole scenario the BKS National Executive, in a separate resolution, demanded ‘Right to Seeds” for Farmers. The ‘Right to Seeds’ should grant the farmers the right to produce, store, distribute, sell and purchase any indigenous seed. “Indigenous seeds should be purified and improved. Traits of the specific target of high yielding, drought resistant, insect pest resistant, disease resistant, flood and salinity resistant and even to make them sustainable in the climate change within our stored germplasms should be explored using rich bio-diversity of the country. Our Universities, labs and KVKs may be empowered, enabled and instructed for this purpose. Foundation seeds may be provided directly to the farmers and the farmers may be imparted training to produce their own seeds. All notified seeds, their features and price tag should be in public domain,” the resolution said.
 
Prior to the so-called modern farming, the seeds were with the farmers who themselves produced, distributed, sold and stored them. But after Green Revolution, the seeds are controlled by Govt agencies and multi-national companies. When the governments are working to double the income of farmers, they should go for the ‘right to seed’ for farmers, the resolution added.