India fileds false data on biosafety at global meet:Gene Campaign

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New Delhi, May 21 (UNI) An NGO has alleged that India had submitted ''false data'' on Biosafety at a meeting of Parties (MoP) of Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in Bonn, Germany during May 12-16.

''It is shocking that Indian officials submitted false data in their report on the government's implementation of Cartagena Protocol,'' said Gene Campaign representatives Dr Suman Sahai and Ms Indrani Barpujari, who briefed mediapersons after attending the MoP.

The report prepared by the Environment Ministry was full of 'untruths' which attempted to show that India had complied fully with requirements of Biosafety Protocol, which is the international body that sets the compulsory compliance standards for dealing with Genetically Engineered Organisms(GEOs) like transgenic plants, Dr Sahai said.

Gene Campaign, the only Delhi-based civil society which was invited to attend the MoP, advocated for developing a regime for 'Liability and Redress' if something goes wrong with the use of the GEOs.

This controversial subject in the Biosafety Protocol opposed was by the biotech industry and it got support from the countries like the US, Brazil, Australia. But Malaysia, which led a 'Group of 80 Like-Minded' countries(including India) lobbied more effectively against the developed countries' efforts to block the mergence of a legally binding liability and redress regime.

Dr Sahai said the world was facing a food crisis and the current agricultural situation in India was fragile. But regrettably, the Indian delegation chose to be a silent spectator on the issue and failed to take up a leadership role while Malaysia, Phillipines and some other small countries were vocal in their opposition to the developed countries which were out to scuttle the coming up of a legal framework on ''liability regime''.

Referring to the alleged ''false data'' submitted by India, Dr Sahai said since India's regulatory system was not up to international standards how could the country comply to the Biosafety Protocol and claim to have implemented the Cartagena Protocol.

The Gene Campaign had already filed a PIL in Supreme Court in 2004 seeking directions for the Indian government to make its regulatory system ''more stringent and technically competent to safeguard the environmental and health safety as per the Biosafety Protocol norms underlined in Cartagena Protocol''.

The case is still in the court, Dr Sahai said.

However, Gene Campaign, along with two other civil society organisations- Anthra (India) and Interdisciplinary Studies (India), have sought fixing of the liability for damage arising from use of GEOs, the liability of the damage be channeled to the 'polluter' whose activities be stopped forthwith. The damage caused by LMOs, and such biological damage may appear after several generations, an absolute time limit of 50 years should be considered for that purpose, they said.


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