Friday, October 22, 2010

Kisan Swaraj Yatra in Chennai

The Kisan Swaraj Yatra is a nation-wide mobilization drawing fresh attention to the continuing agricultural crisis in India, and calling for a comprehensive new path for Indian agriculture – that will provide livelihood and food security for small farmers, keep our soils alive, and our food and water poison-free. The bus-Yatra started at the Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram on Oct 2nd, and pass through 20 states to reach Rajghat, New Delhi on Dec 11th (  As a part of the yatra, the yatri’s are arriving at Chennai on 25th of October an will travel through the state for the next 4 days from their arrival.  Agriculture , the back bone of India, today has been threatened by GM foods, land acquisition through SEZ and many more. To emphasize the threat of all these and to make people aware on safe food and consumption, Safe Food Alliance, Chennai invites you all to Welcome the yatri’s coming to Tamil Nadu.

VENUE: C D Nayagam School, Venkatanarayana Road T Nagar.

TIME & DATE: 4 to 6 PM, Monday October 25th 2010.

Program Schedule

3.30 – 4.15 –     Press conference

4.30 – 6.30 –     Welcome Ceremony                               Chief Guest 
Dr. V. Duraimanickam, Gen.Secy. Tamil Nadu Farmers Association

Special Speech

Dr. G. Nammalvar, Organic Farming Expert

Problems and Chellenges in Agriculture          - Yatri’s from the bus tour

Talk on the issue

 Dr. Vasanthi Devi, Former Vice Chancellor

Dr. C. N. Deivanayagam, President, Health India Association

Prof. Sultan Ismail, Soil Biologist.

Mrs. Revathi, Actress & Social Activist

Organizers: Safe Food Alliance - Tamil Nadu coalition for anti GM crops -  Poovulagin Nanbargal, reStore, Tamil Nadu Women’s collective, Tamil Nadu Natural Farmer’s Association and Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture.

Contact person: R. Selva Ganapathy - 9790951652         

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Members of Safe Food Alliance thank the Chief Minister in person

Dr. Sivaraman, Thiru. Selvam and Smt. Sheelu Francis met and personally thanked the Chief Minister yesterday for responding to the civil society voice and placing a ban on the Bt Brinjal.

Monday, January 25, 2010

SFA meeting with the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu

Meeting of SFA members with the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu

25th January 2010, 9.30 a.m. - 10.20 a.m.

The following members met the Chief Minister as part of the Safe Food Alliance
1. Ms. Rohini, Film Actor
2. R. Selvam, Organic Farmer, Erode
3. Dr. Sivaraman, Siddha Physician
4. Dr. Jeevanandam, Physician
5. Ms. Sheelu Francis, Tamilnadu Women’s Collective
6. Ms. Sangeetha Sriram, ReStore
7. Mr. Ramasbramanian, Samanvaya
The Chief Minister patiently heard the concerns of the group
on the ill effects of Genetically Modified Crops and the
impact they could leave on the farmers, soil health and that of the
consumers for almost an hour.

He read through the letter especially sent to him
by eminent Scientist, Dr. Annadurai who has lead the Chandrayan Mission.
He listened to different facets of the issue expressed to him
and patiently read through the documents that were presented to him.
He was particularly interested to know the role played by the
Multinational Corporation and their control over the seeds market.
He was appraised of the various scientific journals and scientific
opinions that have challenged the claims of the corporate
sponsored scientists and their results.
He was handed over several such material by the team.

He keenly followed the health and environmental impact related issues also.
Main issues discussed in detail with him include - loss of agricultural biodiversity,
traditional varieties of seeds, seeds rights of farmers and health impact and
spread of the monopoly of the MNCs. Lack of laboratory facilities at
TNAU to carry out many of the important bio-safety tests in proving
that BT is safe for humans was also discussed. He listened keenly as the
team mentioned that, all over the world, 24 countries
have completely banned the GM Crops
and only a very small number of countries have
permitted GM crop commercialisation.
The SFA team also presented to him
a traditional variety of Brinjal (Nagapattinam Poyyur variety) that
he relishes very much. The CM was interested to
know that the opposition for this issue in the State has
been a citizen movement and the team represented several sections
of the population. He was also informed of the mass events being planned
on the 30th across the State.
The team also appraised the CM about the banning of the Bt Brinjal
in several states across the country and requested him as
a state with a major political say in the country to come with an appropriate
stand on this issue.
In conclusion the CM assured the team that he
will look into the matter and have the appropriate statement issued.

முதலமச்சர் டாக்டர்.கலைஞர் அவர்களை பாதுகப்பான
உணவிற்கான கூட்டமைப்பின் கீழ்கண்ட உறுப்பினர்கள் இன்று 25-1-2010 காலை 9.45 மணி அளவில் சந்தித்து உரையாடினர்.
ஏறத்தாழ 45 நிமிடங்கள் இந்த சந்திப்பு நடைபெற்றது.
  1. Ms. Rohini, திரைப்பட நடிகை
  2. R. Selvam, இயற்கை வேளாண் வல்லுனர்
  3. Dr. Sivaraman, சித்தமருத்துவர்-பூவுலகின் நண்பர்கள்
  4. Dr. Jeevanandam, நவீன மருத்துவர்
  5. Ms. Sheelu Francis, பெண்கள் ஒருங்கிணைப்புக் குழு
  6. Ms. Sangeetha Sriram, பாதுகாப்பான உணவிற்கான கூட்டமைப்பு
  7. Mr. Ramasbramanian, சமன்வயா

    இக்கூட்டத்தில் கலந்து கொள்வதாக இருந்த விண்வெளி விஞ்ஞானி டாக்டர். மயில்சாமி அண்ணாதுரை எதிர்பாராத அவசர வேலை நிமித்தமாக கலந்து கொள்ளவில்லை. முதலமைச்சர் அவர்கட்கு, பிடி கத்தரி நமக்கு தேவையில்லை;இட்தனை அனுமதிக்க வேண்டாம்
    என்ற தன் நிலைப்பாட்டையும் பரிந்துரையையும் மின்னஞ்சல் மூலம் தெரிவித்திருந்தார்.

    கூட்ட்த்தில் குழுவினர், பி.டி.கத்தரி உடல் நலத்தையும், சுற்றுசூழலையும்,வேளாண் உரிமைகளையும் எந்த அளவு பாதிக்கும் என தெளிவாக விளக்கினர். அதற்கான உலக அளவில் வெளியான அனைத்து சான்றுகளையும் சமர்ப்பித்தனர். பல்வேறு அறிஞர்கள், விஞ்ஞானிகள் இத்தொழில் நுட்பம் விளைவிக்கும் பிரச்சினைகளாக்க் கூறியவற்றை தொகுத்து முதலமைச்சரிடம் குழுவினர் சமர்ப்பித்தனர்.முதலமைச்சர் அவர்கள், மிக நிதானமாக அனைத்துக் கருத்துக்களையும் வந்திருந்தவர்களிடம் கேட்டறிந்து கொண்டார்.

    மேலும் மக்கள் என்ன கருதுகிறார்கள் என்பதையும், இதில் ஈடுபட்டுள்ள பன்னாட்டு கம்பெனியாரின் விவரங்களையும் கேட்டறிந்து கொண்டார்.
    ஒவ்வாமை முதலான உடல் நலக் கேடுகளையும், விதைகள் பறிபோய்விடும் அபாயத்தையும், சூழலில் அது ஏற்படுத்தக் கூடிய மாசுக்களால் நாட்டு கத்தரி விதைகளை நாம் முற்றிலும் இழக்கும் அபாயம் குறித்தும் விளக்கப்பட்டது.

    முதலமைச்சர் அவர்கள், விரைவில் இது குறித்து ஆலோசனைக்குப் பின் முடிவெடுப்பதாக கூறினார்கள்.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

This morning news in Dinamani on Grama Sabhai

This morning's Dinamani centre page carries an article on the possibility of several panchayats passing a resolution against the GM Food in their Grama Sabhai meeting tomorrow 26th Jan 2010.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Street Play against Bt Brinjal

The Mylapore festival this evening saw street theatre with several skits on environmental themes enacted by the students of Madras School of Social Work.

The thrust of the evening was on getting across the message of Conservation to the audience and in particular create awareness on the dangers of GM Food, Bt Brinjal in particular.

The two enclosed pictures show the artists perform in front of a few hundred audience. The audience appreciated the message and all of them signed the petition requesting the CM of Tamilnadu to ban Bt Brinjal in this state also.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 22, 2010

தமிழக கத்திரிக்காய் வகைகள்

பிடி கத்திரிக்காய் பற்றிய விழிப்புணர்வுடன் நமது பாரம்பரிய வகைகளையும் தெரிந்துகொள்வது மிகவும் அவசியமாகிறது. திரு ஜெயச்சந்திரம் அவர்கள் சில விதமான பாரம்பரிய கதிரிக்கைகளை இங்கே குறிப்பிடுகிறார், உங்களுக்கு தெரிந்த வகைகளை குறித்து நீங்களும் எழுதியும், பேசியும், புகைப்படம் மூலமாகவும் இங்குதெரிவிக்கலாம்.

'Pass Resolutions on Bt Brinjal in your Grama Sabhai meetings on 26th Jan'

Thiru. Jeyachandran is one of the most respected, organic farmer and former Panchayat Leader in Tamilnadu. He hails from the Maduranthagam region. He has called for the comprehensive rejection of the Bt Brinjal by all villages in Tamilnadu and use the power of the Panchayats to express the same. In the following video,he calls for the farmers and villagers to reject the GM crop and pass resolutions requesting the Chief Minister to reject it for the entire state when the Grama Sabhai congregates on the 26th of January.

Editorial in Popular Tamil Daily against Bt Brinjal

The following is a quick rough translation of the Editorial in the major Tamil Daily, Dinamani appearing on 22nd January 2010 regarding the Ministerial spat over Bt Brinjal and covers the entire issue rather well. 

Naamdaan Kidaithooma (are we the only guinea pigs available?)

The issue of the Bt Brinjal has blown wide open and for everyone to see now. While the Agricultural Minister Sharad Pawar claimed that the Expert Committee recommendation on Bt Brinjal is final, the statement by Environmental Minister Jairam Ramesh the very next day has rebutting this and stating that the final decision should rest with the government has given us much hope.

Sharad Pawar is the single leader of one of the coalition partners of the Congress Government in the Centre, the NCP. His recent decisions have been detrimental to the cause of the common man, particular farmers and has met with severe criticism as it seem to be largely favouring sugar mill owners, large traders, importers of food grains. While has shown no interest in increasing the procurement cost for paddy, wheat or sugarcane, his enthusiasm in procuring imported wheat at a higher price has caused heart burn among wheat farmers in particular.

The reason to recollect all this is to provide the backdrop for the current discussion on Bt Brinjal. Sharad Pawar’s statement that the Expert Committee recommendation is final could have created a catastrophy to this country. Thankfully Jairam Ramesh has reined in Sharad Pawar with his statement.  

Bt Brinjal seeds are marketed by Mahyco, a name for an American Multinational company to sell seeds in India with a window dressing of few Indian names in it. The wonder is that this genetically modified brinjal has neither been planted large scale nor tested directly in any part of the world.

The Bt Brinjal, unlike Bt Cotton is a food product that is directly consumed by our people. The consequences of its toxic contamination and its consequences need no overstating. Also, while thousands of hectares of cultivable land is available in Developed Countries such as America, the lands of a gullible nation like ours is used for such experimentation is a clever tactic that certainly has not escaped our notice. How this strategy has escaped a strategist and clever politician such as Sharad Pawar is a big question.

Several thousand farmers have committed suicide after their Bt Cotton crop failed. The same Multinational does not seem to have given them any compensation. The labourers handling this variety of cotton in mills too have registered rashes and other ailments. We should not forget the fact that it took us quite a long time to shed the pride of Green Revolution and understand its long term (disastrous) consequences.

The Bt Brinjal has been introduced in India only by a Multinational Corporate.  Their intentions are not that Indians should have more revenue from their Brinjal crops or that they should use less chemical pesticides or that their yield should go up by 3 or 5 fold.  Though such claims are made for the purpose of advertising, their actual intention is to ensure that our traditional varieties of Brinjal are no longer cultivated. Once that happens, if we want to buy any Brinjal, we will have to rely on one Multinational or another, the price we pay for that will be heavy.

If we leave the commercial aspect aside for a moment, how can we estimate the damage due to the Bt Brinjal to the soil and environment?  Let us remain the conservative suspicious fools, but, let us for a moment ask this question as to who will save us tomorrow if these seeds cause some damage to us? Where is the Multinational Union Carbide that caused deaths of thousands of people in Bhopal? Where is its Chairman Anderson, a prime accused in the case? What are the efforts that the Manmohan Singh government undertaken to bring Anderson to book? What is the status of those victim of Bhopal who still haven’t got adequate compensation and continue to suffer its consequences?

If such a fate befalls the users (or consumers) of Bt Brinjal tomorrow, who will help them? Should we forsake our traditional varieties of Brinjal and the future health of our soil to these ‘patriots’ who are negotiating to get a very low  compensation even if there is a disaster due to a Nuclear plant with Multinationals setting up such plants.
TO uproot the British Empire, Gandhiji lifted a handful of salt at Dandi. We need to decide whether we use any salt in our food (to be provoked by the current situation). Alas, when the public vote is negotiated for a 500 and 1000 rupee note, what difference does it make if the negotiator is our own Sharad Pawar or the American Anderson?

Sudden postponement of the consultations in Hyderabad and Bangaluru, who benefits?

Several farmer friends from Tamilnadu had booked their travel tickets in advance and some through TatKal for attending the consultation in Bangaluru. Several had already reached Hyderabad. Now, CEE calls everyone in the last moment and informs well beyond the working hours of any organization, that the Minister has a meeting to attend and has to hence postpone the meetings. 

This raises several questions in the 'Democratic Process' as the Minister himself terms the consultations as to his Cabinet Colleague. 

1) If the consultation is a democratic process, why was the criteria and choice of the venue for the consultations so arbitrarily declared. (In Ahmedabad, he had explained the criteria for each of the venues as Scientists filled towns for Hyderabad and Bangalore, Brinjal major cities of Bhubaneshwar and Kolkatta, Bt Cotton experienced cities for Ahmedabad and Nagpur and Major North Indian Agriculture City, for Chandigarh. Such criteria defies intelligence).

2) Except for CEE and those who know how to reach them and register as participant, there is no information in neighbouring states as to how we can participate in these consultations in advance. CEE officials in Hyderabad yesterday informed me that they are carrying the postponement information in the local media, what about those from Chennai and other parts of Tamilnadu who would have already reached the venue. How can a minister remember another appointment so late in the end of a working day and communicate it to the organizers. The public, particularly farmers, who spend their hard earned money to buy tickets need to be either compensated for the time, energy and cancellation charges or at least given adequate advance notice. 

Maharaja's can perhaps call for or dismiss darbars based on their moods and bouts of amnesia, Democratically elected Ministers cannot, where is their responsibility towards the masses.

3) Is the Prime Minister aware that such consultations are being organized and has he endorsed this process? It is important that this be answered by the Minister because he has stated to his Senior Colleague in the Cabinet that he will submit his findings from the consultation to the PM by Feb 20th. What if the PM also says he didn't agree with this consultative process and will go by what the Expert Committee has recommended just as the Agricultural Minister has stated? What would be the weight of the consultative process? Several thousand people across the country have take precious time from their vocations to participate as they feel this is a democratic process and think it is their responsibility to express their views, but, does the Cabinet think so? 

If there is already awareness in the Cabinet, then how come the Agricultural Minister can undermine such a democratic process by giving his opinion? How can the S&T minister express his opinion in a public meeting? Can't such statements be construed as contempt of the Democratic process? 

4) The Minister has stated that apart from these consultations, he has also written to 50 top scientists in this country and abroad. On what basis has he chosen these scientists? He needs to come clean as to what would be the weightage of the scientist opinion vis-a-vis the opinion of the consultation. How would be reconcile the output of a political process with that of a technical opinion of whatever competence? 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Statement on Bt Brinjal in the MDMK website

MDMK website carried a statement by Thiru. Vaiko on the issue. The MDMK Leader has demanded that the State Government should demand a consultation be held on this important issue in the State of Tamilnadu also and has also condemned the silence of the State and Central Government on this issue.

Vehicle Stickers aginst Bt Brinjal

Krishnan has designed the two stickers that can be printed in sticker sheets and stuck in four wheelers and two wheelers. Do download and use these images freely. Send us photos of where you stick them if you want to help, it will inspire others too to do the same. 

Eminent Ayurvedic Vaidya against GM Food

Eminent Ayurvedic Vaidya in Chennai, Dr. P.L.T. Girija has come out against the introduction of Genetically Modified Food in the country. In a meeting at her clinic in Chennai today, she strongly criticized such move and said there was no reason for us go for GMOs in this country. Her handwritten letter with further endorsement of few more Ayurvedic Physicians below.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

தலைகுனியுமா தமிழகம்?

தலைகுனியுமா தமிழகம்?

தென் இந்திய மாநிலங்களில் இயற்கையை பாதுகாப்பது முதல் விவசாயியின் உரிமையை காப்பது வரை 'நாங்கள் தான் முதலிடம்' என்று பெருமைப்பட்டு கொண்டிருக்கும் தமிழன் மரபீனி மாற்ற விதை களை தடை செய்வதில் மட்டும் ஏன் பின்தங்கி விட்டான்?

உழுதுண்டு வாழ்வாரே வாழ்வார் மற்றெல்லாம் தொழுதுண்டு பின்செல்பவர் என்று கூறிய வள்ளுவனை அனுதினமும் நினைவூட்டி ஒவ்வொரு பேருந்து மற்றும் புத்தகத்திலும் அவன் குரளை எழுதவைத்த கலைஞர், தமிழ் உழவன் மாற்றானிடம் யாசித்து, விதை வாங்கி,பயிர் செய்ய ஒப்புதல் அழிப்பது வள்ளுவனை அவமதிப்பதாகாதா?

அண்டை மாநிலமான கேரளம் முதலில் தடை செய்தது, 'எங்கள் இயற்கை பாதிக்கப்படும்' என்று, சில நாட்களுக்கு முன்னால் ஆந்திரம் தடை செய்தது, 'எங்கள் விவசாயிகள் உரிமை போய்விடும்' என்று, இன்று கர்நாடகம் தடை செய்ய முடிவெடுத்துள்ளது, 'இது எங்களுக்கு பயன் தராது' என்று. இயற்க்கைக்கு ஒப்பவில்லை, விவசாயிக்கு எதிரானது, நுகர்வோருக்கு பயன் தராது என்றால் தமிழ் தலைவர்கள் ஏன் இன்னும் முடிவெடுக்க யோசிதுகொண்டிருக்கிரார்கள்??

Friday, January 15, 2010

Diverse traditional varieties of Brinjal in the Chennai Sangamam stall

IMG_5768.JPGIMG_5758.JPGதமிழகத்திலுள்ள பல்வேறு விதமான பாரம்பரிய கத்திரிக்காய், சென்னை சங்கமம் பொருட்காட்சியில் பார்க்கலாம்.
மக்களுக்கு பிடி கத்திரிக்காயை குறித்து விளக்குவதை படத்தில் காணலாம்.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Join the 'Save our Food!' Campaign

Our food is in for irreversible contamination, and our wealth of seeds in for irreversible loss because of a policy that our Government is planning to enforce in a month's time!

By learning what, why, how and ACTING NOW, we could all actually stop it from happening by exercising our rights for safe food!!

You may already know that Bt Brinjal, a genetically modified brinjal variety produced by a multinational company called Monsanto, is awaiting approval to be introduced in India. Bt is a soil bacterium called Bacillus Thuringiensis with pesticidal properties, whose gene is introduced into brinjal, which they claim will reduce pesticide use. But our experience with Bt Cotton introduced in India in 2003 has shown us that it is a false claim. Bt Cotton has
* caused large-scale crop failure and has increased pesticide use, pushing lakhs of farmers to commit suicide. (See attachment)
* killed thousands of cattle which grazed on the fields.
* caused severe allergies and other illness for farm workers.
GM foods introduced elsewhere in the world have caused massive crop failures and severe health problems. Jeffrey Smith has documented about 65 diseases and disorders in his book 'Genetic Roulette'. In Philippines, villagers living near GM Maize fields have even died! And for all these reasons, Italy, Ireland, Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, South Africa and Switzerland have either banned or enforced a moratorium on the cultivation of GM food crops. Moreover, surveys say that more than 90% of Americans, and almost 100% of Europeans are against GM foods. In India, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Kerala, West Bengal, Uttaranchal and Orissa have banned GM foods.

Please come with your colleagues, students, friends and family to learn more and find out how you can help stop the approval of Bt Brinjal, and thereby GM foods in India to
SPACES, 1, Elliots Beach Road, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600090

on Sunday, Jan 10th, 2010
from 2.30 to 6.30 pm

Please write to to register if you are participating in the event. For more information, contact Rupesh at 98849-58194

Let's come together to save our food before it is too late!

Safe Food Alliance