In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has asked the field trials of Bt Brinjal to be stopped immediately, “as it will defeat the campaign for self-reliance initiated by the Centre”.
During the last meeting of Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), the regulators in the Ministry of Environment had allowed the penultimate stage of field trials called BRL II trials for Bt brinjal.
They had asked six states to make way for trails of this controversial technology, SJM mentioned in the letter. “We are seeking your personal intervention to halt these trials at earliest.”
“These clearances have been given mischievously to defeat the Atmanirbhar Abhiyan or self-reliance campaign initiated by you to cut down dependence on the foreign players, but also to evolve world-class ecosystem to develop cutting edge products for domestic consumption and also for exports,” the letter said.
Claiming that Bt brinjal is a “completely unneeded” technology, the Sangh’s economic wing said pest management in brinjal is possible without the use of Bt or synthetic pesticides and scientific evidence for the same exists.
The yield and production of Brinjal in India increased after the moratorium on Bt brinjal which clearly shows that this technology is not needed, the letter claimed, alleging it moved forward in the regulatory pipeline mainly due to deep conflict of interest in some regulators.
“We humbly submit that we are not in shortage of brinjal, neither in quality nor in quantity. Since it is indigenous crop of the subcontinent, maximum varieties are available in this part of the world,” the note to the PM said. SJM believes India cannot willingly jeopardise its trade security by opting for GM technology when an overwhelming majority of countries around the world shun such crops.
“The reality is that several countries which had initially adopted GM crops have subsequently abandoned the same. India would be unwise if it doesn’t leverage the current strengths of its non-GM farming, and allow our exports to be jeopardised by losing non-GMO tag,” the letter urged the PM.