CHANDIGARH: Even as MNCs are trying to woo various state governments to allow them sell genetically modified (GM) food products and Punjab government also showing keen interest in this regard, volunteers of various organizations and public forums and members of different communities like students, lawyers, engineers and doctors came together on a common platform here on Sunday to raise their voice against GM foods.
Starting their campaign by organizing a workshop at Punjab University on Sunday to highlight the ill effects of GM foods, the activists have targeted US-based food products firm Monsanto with a campaign named “Monsanto – A threat to health, environment and human rights.”
“GM foods are totally banned in many European countries as numerous scientific studies revealed that its intake could have severe ill effects on human health and environment. The greedy MNCs are now bringing this poisonous food to India. Monsanto controls majority of GM crops cultivated in the world and have managed to put a gag on farmers, who raise their voice,” said Gaurav Goel, coordinator of Aawaaz, a city-based non-government organization.
Last month, a senior representative of Monsanto had met chief minister of Punjab, urging him to allow GM foods in Punjab. The Punjab government has reportedly assured all help to Monsanto and has even asked the firm to set up a research and development centre in the state to produce high yielding hybrid seeds.
“We express serious concern and objection to Punjab government’s move to ask Monsanto to set up a research and development centre. Monsanto is known for its anti-farmer and anti-environment operations across the world,” said Dr Amar Singh Azad, director of an organization working to spread knowledge about the ill effects of GM foods across the country.
The anti-GM foods volunteers started their campaign on Sunday and would cover whole Punjab in the next one month. They use live demonstrations, seminars and protest marches to convey their message.