ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

22 April 2002


Dharwar April 17: A massive rally of farmers was organized by the KRRS and the Green Brigade on the occasion of World Farmers' Day...

[Photos of April 17, 2002- World Farmers Day, Dharwar, Karnataka:

Karnataka Rajya Ryota Sangha President Prof.M.D.Nanjundaswamy today advised Chief Minister S M Krishna to study Science thoroughly before introduction of Bt cotton in the State.

Addressing a farmers rally here, he was critical about the statement by Mr. Krishna dubbing those who were opposing the introduction of Bt cotton in the country as spin doctors. He said that it was unfortunate that some politicians and scientists have sold themselves to the multinational companies that were planning to distribute Bt cotton seeds to Indian farmers. It would be better if the Chief Minister studied science before allowing Bt cotton in the state he said. Bt cotton is a danger to bio-diversity , he added.

When leading scientists representing 36 nations have submitted a memorandum to the UN explaining the need to ban such seeds, our politicians are trying to promote them, he stated.

Prof.Nanjundaswamy reiterated the stand of KRRS on the issue of Bt cotton seeds failing which the activists would destroy the crop besides taking proper action against those companies, which produce these seeds. The KRRS has already decided to organize its agitation at the national level and also create awareness among farmers about ill effects of Bt cotton seeds on Indian agriculture.

Prof.Swamy said the KRRS, besides acting against sale and use of Bt cottonseeds, will take up programs to educate the farmers on the evils of terminated seeds.

In fact, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and other ministers were aware of the bad impact on agriculture after introduction of Bt cotton in the country, but they have not reached in this regard.

The ryot leader said Bt cotton seed was a threat to the country food security as well as to the seeds produced by farmers locally. The scientists were very well aware of the consequences on the country agriculture sector, however they were caught in the tentacles of the MNCs.

National ryot leader, Mr.Mahendrasingh Tikait who was present at the rally said the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan have categorically stated that they were not in favor of introducing Bt cotton in their respective states. It was high time in Karnataka government review its stand and oppose the introduction of Bt cotton. The agriculture secretary of Haryana Government had reportedly opposed the Bt cotton introduction in that state, he noted.

He said while the farmers have said [no] to Bt cotton, the government was trying to impose things on ryots. It was not right on the part of any government to accept foreign technology blindly, without studying the pros and consthoroughly. Unfortunately, even the Union government was following anti-farmers policies.

Mr. Selvam Mutthu, President of Tamil Nadu Farmers Organisation said that the Director of Haryana Agriculture Department, Rajeev Arora had himself prohibited the use of BT cotton. In such circumstances, it was unfortunate that Karnataka was welcoming it. In Tamil Nadu protest rallies will be organized to protest against the Termination seed technology, he added. He also urged the Karnataka Government to supply electricity free of cost to ryots of this state, as being done by Tamil Nadu Government.

An all-India protest will be organised against bio-technology and farmers should extend their co-operation and support, he said.

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