As the deadline for public feedback on the BRAI Bill closes on Aug 25 a delegation from the Coalition for a Genetically Modified (GM) free India and Greenpeace India, on Friday delivered petitions from over 4 lakh Indians demanding the withdrawal of Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill.
The petitions were delivered to T Subbarami Reddy, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests, at his residence.
According to reports, the Standing Committee is currently reviewing the controversial BRAI Bill, 2013, which was introduced by the Ministry of Science and Technology despite opposition from both inside and outside the Parliament.
Receiving the petitions Dr Reddy assured the delegation that the standing committee will keep these public concerns in mind while deliberating on this controversial bill.
"The BRAI Bill, 2013 proposes to set up a single window clearance mechanism for contentious GM crops into the country," said Renu Singh, a member of the Coalition for a GM Free India.
She said, "It is designed to lower the regulatory bar to give a free hand to biotech giants like Monsanto to push in their GM crops and take control of our seeds, farming and food. It is nothing but a Monsanto Protection and Promotion Act."
Greenpeace India noted that the BRAI proposal has been facing strong opposition from all quarters due to its centralised, biased, unscientific and non-transparent nature in dealing with regulation of GM crops.
Earlier on Aug 8, on the eve of Quit India Day, thousands of citizens along with 18 Members of Parliaments from various political parties including Congress, BJP, JD(U), CPI (M), CPI, DMK, BJD and farmer union leaders from across the country came together for a day long dharna on Parliament Street in New Delhi, followed by a march to Parliament demanding the withdrawal of the BRAI Bill.
"This Bill is an attempt to circumvent public opposition to GM crops in the country," said Deb Kumar Chattopadhyay, a Greenpeace India activist.
He stated, "While the govt failed us, we have great hopes that the Parliamentary Standing Committee comprising of M.Ps from various political parties will pay heed to the voice of citizens."
--IBNS (Posted on 23-08-2013)