Legal action against Mahyco, Monsanto in Bt Brinjal case

August 11th, 2011 - 10:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Aug 11 (IANS) The National Biodiversity Authority of India (NBA) has recommended legal action against seed firms Mahyco and Monsanto for violating the biodiversity protection law in promoting Bt Brinjal, NGO Environment Support Group (ESG India) said Thursday.

“In a resolution at its meeting June 20, the NBA decided to initiate legal action against Mahyco/Monsanto and their collaborators for using local brinjal varities in developing Bt Brinjal without prior approval of the competent authorities,” ESG said in a statement here, quoting from the resolution released Thursday in New Delhi.

The NBA decision was based on a complaint filed by ESG with the Karnataka Biodiversity Board Feb 15.

“The state board investigated the matter and informed NBA May 28 that six local varieties for development of Bt Brinjal were accessed in the state by the two companies without prior approval,” the statement said.

The board also recommended legal action against University of Agricultural Sciences at Dharward in north Karnataka, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore, and Sathguru Management Consultants Ltd, representing the consortium involving the United States Agency for International Development and US’ Cornell University for collaborating with the seed firms in violation of the Biological Diversity Act (section 4).

The Bangalore-based ESG accused the agencies of illegally accessing 10 varieties of brinjal in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu without the consent of the regulatory boards although it was mandatory to protect loss of biodiversity from contamination when transgencis are involved.

“The law mandates that when biodiversity is to be accessed for commercial and research activity, local communities must be consulted as per the internationally applicable access and benefit sharing protocol,” the statement noted.

Pending legal action, ESG has urged the regulator to withhold access to any biological resource in the country by all the agencies involved.

“The regulator must stop processing Monsanto’s application for accessing two varieties of Indian onions and ensure that such acts of biopiracy do not recur,” the statement added.

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