Raising the issue of systematically violation of intellectual property laws by Monsanto, noted environmentalist Vandana Shiva has submitted a charter of suggestions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the commercialisation of GM mustard. In a letter written to Modi, the environmentalist said, “Monsanto and Bayer are now merging, which will become a mega monopoly. Since, Monsanto has a history of violating Indian laws, chances are very rife that the MNC would play with the facts to take control of GM mustard, which has been developed by Indian researchers.”
“As all the basic patents related to the barnase/barstar/bar gene system are controlled by Bayer, the GM mustard, which is being made to appear as an “innovation” of Deepak Pental, a retired professor of Delhi University, the MNCs may ‘twist’ the facts. So it’s requested to put all agreements made by Pental with MNCs holding with patents on barnase/barstar/bar gene system in the public domain,” said Shiva.
Adding further, Shiva in her letter to Modi said, “All agreements made by Pental with any commercial entities, or any companies for commercialisation of GM mustard, must be made known in public domain. A socio economic assessment must be done before the release of GM mustard. Liability laws should be put in place before any GMO approval to cover costs and damages to farmers such as losses due emergence of pests like whitefly and pink bollworm in case of failure of Bt Cotton. The liability should also cover cost of damages to farmers whose crop is genetically contaminated by GM crops and who lose their organic status,” Shiva’s letter said. Raising the issue of Monsanto’s illegal activities, Shiva in her letter said, “Monsanto started illegally collecting royalties from farmers and rapidly established a monopoly. “Even though patents on seeds are not allowed, for more than one-and-a-half decade Monsanto has extracted illegal royalties from farmers, trapping them in debt, and triggering an epidemic of farmers’ suicides. The systemic violation of Indian laws must be stopped immediately. We hope that as the Prime Minister of India, you will take strict and urgent action on what has become a national emergency as well as a serious crisis of governance in area of the seed,” Shiva said.
Bringing the unfair activities of the MNC to the notice of PM Modi, Shiva added, “The chemical industry is getting ready to push the GM-Mustard (DMH-11). Despite Bayer is being banned in India after its application for commercial planting of GM mustard was rejected, the company is selling Glufosinate, to the tea gardens of Assam and the apple orchards of Himachal Pradesh, illegally. Sales agents show the Glufosinate sales under the ‘other’ category to avoid regulation.
“These chemicals are finding their way into the bodies of our children without government approval,” she further alleged. As the Prime Minster of our country, we do hope you will defend the country’s laws and not allow underhand and illegal activities of Monsanto to threaten sovereignty of the Indian constitution and undermine regulatory framework that defends the rights of the people,” she said.