Tribal women demand apology from NBA Chairman

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 13 (UNI) Fifty four tribal women organisations, under the banner of Orissa Nari Samaj, have demanded an apology from National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) Chairman S Kannaiyan for promoting genetically modified crops.

Mr Kannaiyan at a seminar in Chennai recently had reportedly said that genetically modified crops were the only answer to increase production and productivity to solve malnutrition problem in the country.

In a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Orissa Agriculture Minister Surendranath Nayak, the tribal woman leaders expressed surprise and concern at Mr Kannaiyan's statement.

They said Mr Kannaiyan as the Chairman of NBA was supposed to conserve and protect the biological diversity and advise the Centre on prevention of genetically modified organisms.

''But by making such a statement, he had violated the Bio-Diversity Act and put at risk the rich bio-diversity of the country and livelihood of millions of people,'' they iterated.

The tribal women leaders said genetic engineering was antithetical to diversity, could cause genetic pollution and compromise the food sovereignty of the people with increasing dependence on corporate sponsored ''science''.

They also feared that the Biodiversity Management Committees network would be used to market GM crops and urged the Prime Minister to put pressure on NBA Chairman to immediately withdraw the ''biased and unscientific'' statement.

They also demanded the section 36.4 (ii)Biological Diversity Act,2002 be invoked to put a stay on permission for field trials and use of Genetically Engineering crops as a precautionary measure.

UNI BD-DP KK AM RAI2038

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