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Letter to CM: Hoist flag made of non-BT cotton

Bangalore, Aug 14, 2013, DHNS: 23:21 IST
Vendors of the National Flags do a brisk business on the eve of Independence Day in  Bangalore on Wednesday. KPN
Coalition for a GM (genetically modified) Free Karnataka, an organisation fighting against GM crops, on Wednesday sent a letter to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, requesting him to hoist a National Flag made of non-BT cotton.

Pointing out the sentiment citizens have with the National Flag, the letter read: “...On behalf of the citizens of India, GM Free India Karnataka urges you to hoist an Indian flag made of non-BT, desi cotton this year. We sincerely hope that you, as the prime representative of the people of Karnataka, will pay heed to this request of people of this State.”

The State is home to only the two official National Flag making units of Khadi Gram Udyog in India, the letter stated, adding: “We hope you will source a desi flag that truly reflects our sovereignty this time.”

Rajesh Krishnan, member, Coalition for GM Free India, said: “Cotton as a symbol of our struggle for Independence was given to us by Mahatma Gandhi. Over the last decade, we have lost this to a foreign company, Monsanto. It is indeed unfortunate that Monsanto now controls around 95 per cent of our cotton seed market through its proprietary GM-BT cotton and aims to control the seed market of other crops too in the same way.”

The organisation further argued that the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill, 2012, introduced by the Centre, will act as a single window easy approval system for GM crops.

“BRAI as you know also takes away the decision making power of state governments on open releases of GM crops,” the letter said.

It also said that the previous State government had raised concerns on various aspects of the Bill and demanded a comprehensive consultation before its introduction, which unfortunately hasn't happened.

“With this letter the people of this country remind you of the power and wisdom of these golden principles. With the hoisting of the non-GM flag, you have the opportunity to restore the glory of this powerful Gandhian symbol,” the letter said.

Further, the letter said that given the growing evidence of the impact of GM crops to the human health, environment and farm livelihoods, the State takes a serious stand on the matter.

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