SJM condemns new wheat import tender
New Delhi, June 17 (UNI) Food safety norms have been thrown to the wind and an open invitation given to all the world's weeds to come and colonise the country, the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) said today in a scathing attack on the Government's relaxed wheat import tender.
The government had made Indian soil susceptible to ''a number of diseases'' by doubling the permissible presence of DON toxin in imported wheat and by relaxing quality standards with respect to 31 listed banned weeds, a SJM statement said.
The weeds allowed under the relaxed import rules included ambrosia maritime, bromus secalinus, heliotropium amplexicaule, helianthus californicus, thesium australe and viola arvensis, it said.
While pointing out that the weed 'Congress Grass' and its associated problems came to India along with wheat imported from the US in the 1970s, it said the relaxed import norms would not only pave way for ''easy import of poorer quality American and Australian wheat but also cause great environmental and health hazards''.
The State Trading Corporation had floated a fresh global tender on Monday to import 22 lakh tonnes of wheat after the government scaled down the norms with regard to residues in the produce. The new tender, which closes on June 20, was announced since there was lukewarm response to the earlier two global tenders.
The SJM alleged that the government acted under US pressure and thus exposed its claim that the country enjoyed freedom to impose phyto-sanitary measures to safeguard national interest.
''A significant erosion of sovereignty is reflected by the Indian government allowing a sneak preview of the newly-drafted plant health norms for importer wheat before they were formally announced''.
The SJM said the government's faulty policies were turning the country from an exporter to importer of foodgrains. It described as ''hollow'' the claim that wheat prices would come down once the produce was imported to meet the shortfall in domestic demand.
It asked the government to rethink its decision to relax norms for wheat import and withdraw Monday's tender notice immediately in the national interest.
The SJM's National Council meet in Jabalpur earlier this month had decided to launch a nation-wide agitation against the ''ongoing anti-farmer policies of the government,'' it informed.
UNI VN RR RN2014