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GMO-FREE REGIONS & POLICY: ‘Declare Mysore a GMO-free city’ demands Indian Southern Action on Genetic Engineering





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TITLE:   ?DECLARE MYSORE A GMO-FREE CITY?

SOURCE:  The Hindu, India

AUTHOR:  

URL:     http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/article2405066.ece

DATE:    28.08.2011

SUMMARY: "The Southern Action on Genetic Engineering has urged the authorities to declare Mysore a ?GMO-Free City? in keeping with its heritage character and to safeguard the agricultural biodiversity of the region. A memorandum addressed to the Mysore City Corporation was released at a programme here on Saturday."

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?DECLARE MYSORE A GMO-FREE CITY?

The Southern Action on Genetic Engineering (SAGE) has urged the authorities to declare Mysore a ?GMO-Free City? (Genetically Modified Organism-Free City) in keeping with its heritage character and to safeguard the agricultural biodiversity of the region.

A memorandum addressed to the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) was released at a programme here on Saturday.

P.V. Satheesh of Deccan Development Society, Hyderabad, and convener of SAGE said that it was imperative not to allow the agricultural and farming biodiversity of the region to be destroyed. He cited the examples of France and Italy where there was resistance to the introduction of genetically modified crops in vineyards while California in the U.S. was in the forefront of the anti-nuclear energy agitation.

Mr. Satheesh pointed out that Mysore was known for unique agricultural produce that had been accorded Geographical Indication (GI) status such as Mysore betel leaves, Nanjangud Rasabale and Erangere Badanekai. Memorandum

Citizens submitted a memorandum to Mayor Pushpalatha Chikkanna urging her to take steps to make Mysore free of GM crops and food. The memorandum pointed out that Mysore was not only a cultural and heritage city but the region was renowned for agricultural diversity as well.

?Mysore Mallige is not only a true representative of the city; it also symbolises the culture of the region. Likewise, vaangi bath cooked from Yerengere Badanekayi is intrinsic to the culinary culture of the region. Hence, it is imperative to protect the purity of the species,? the memorandum said.

The citizens also said that the Government?s policy of promoting GM crops posed a major threat to agricultural diversity. It was imperative to fight it at the local level and emulate the steps taken in other advanced countries.

Dangers of GM foods

The Mayor was apprised of the dangers of GM foods and was urged to declare Mysore a ?GM-Free City? in the next meeting of the corporation council. It also called for banning the sale of GM foods and products within MCC limits. It also called for a ban on transactions related to GM seeds.

The signatories to the memorandum included various progressive organisations and individuals such as K.N. Ramachandra of SAGE, Mysore; Sudhir Vombatkere of National Alliance of People?s Movement; Ugranarasimhe Gowda of Jeevamrutha; Guruprasad of Nesara; and Ramakrisha Bhatta of Bhoomitaayi Balaga.

Environmentalist U.N. Ravikumar, social activist Bapu Satyanarayana, former Director of Central Food Technological Research Institute H.A.B. Parpia, and Srimathi Hariprasad of Mysore Grahakara Parishat were present.

- Mysore is known for unique agricultural produce that have been accorded GI status

- Government?s policy of promoting GM crops poses a major threat to agricultural diversity