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01 October 2014
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Bulletins from Samanvaya - Food Updates
Issue of October 2001
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In this issue,

Quotes

  • ...The possibility of interbreeding by marriage between close relatives over a period of time ALSO could have contributed to the congenital defects. The possibility of use of prohibited medicines during the initial stages or pregnancy can ALSO result in birth defects...
    --- E V V Bhaskara Rao, Director, National Research Centre for Cashew, Puttur, Karnataka on the Endosulfan problem in Padre. Source: Down To Earth, Oct 15th, 2001
  • That is not how a scientist would talk. Do we talk of an ALMOST complete right angle? A right angle is a right angle of 90 degrees, not less, not more.
    --- Gandhiji arguing with scientists on the benefits of unpolished rice, March 18, 1935. Source: Weekly Notes by Mahadev Desai
  • We do not know how and when the FIPPAT or PCK officials came to and collected samples. Just like the aerial spraying, about which local people aren't intimated earlier, this study also seems to have been done secretly. Now the report is being quoted in the press, but nobody has seen the full report. Why this secrecy ?
    --- Srinivas Naik, Panchayath member from 6th ward, Enmakaje Panchayath, Affected area in Kerala

Chief SAMANVAYA Column: 2 YEARS FOR SAMANVAYA FOOD UPDATES

Our first Food Update was dated 30th Sept 99. We have stumbled through 2 years of existence, we have been inconsistent, bungled a few, at times large, ...learning all the time for sure. We thank all of you who have supported us to learn and develop during this period. Please continue with your support, that is what keeps us going.

Too many bytes this last month - on war, terrorism, peace, terror, anger, pain, polity...enough. Too much.

So, I stop here.

Ram
Chief, Samanvaya.

Excerpts
  • HOW WE SOLVE THE PROBLEM OF HUNGER
    LECTURE BY DEVINDER SHARMA

    ...But then we want to divert attention from the real problems. We are saying: 'No, no, no, forget about normal food, poor and hungry need to get what is called 'novel' food, 'functional' food and so on. Biotechnologists are telling us that they are providing the poor with a choice to choose from various 'novel' foods. I am sure, you will agree that if we were to give the poor people a choice, they would like to have food. Give them food and much of the problems that we are talking about would be resolved. But we don't want to give them food. And if they can't afford to buy rice, please tell me how can they buy Vitamin A rice? It's a question, which has not been addressed, it is a question that is very conveniently bypassed and it will continue to be bypassed, because of the commerce, the industrial interests that drive these kind of technologies, further and further driving away the poor and hungry from their basic right -- the right to food.

    We are increasingly getting into a paradigm, which actually takes us away from the ground realities and therefore in the years to come, you will see more and more people succumbing to hunger in India. Biotechnology, which is being pushed in the name of hunger will actually be adding onto hunger. It's therefore important for all of us to question, it's very important for all of us to raise our voice. Otherwise, we will do exactly what the late Mrs. Indira Gandhi, India's former Prime Minister, used to do. Mrs. Indira Gandhi, as you all know remained in power for about 18 years, a remarkable leader, the world respects her and so on. But let me share with you a classic quality of Mrs. Indira Gandhi, and I find the same principles and thinking being adopted by the chemical or the industrial or the scientific community. There's a parallel here. Mrs. Gandhi had the political astuteness to address problems, she was known for it. If there was terrorism in the far eastern State of Assam, her way of addressing the problem was to 'let it linger on' and when it gets out of hand, she will create another problem in northwestern Punjab and when the Punjab problem gets out of hand, people will tend to forget about the problem the existed in Assam. And when the Punjab problem gets out of hand, she will flame another crisis in down south Tamil Nadu. So, that means the nation's attention gets diverted to Tamil Nadu and you forget about Punjab.

    What a remarkable way of solving problems by diverting attention. And this is exactly what the scientific community is doing. It's doing that. The problem today is of hunger, and they are not keen to address the problem of hunger. They are telling us we should be worried about hidden hunger. What a clever way of bypassing the real problem that is confronting us today. And then they also know that we have mountains of food surplus in India. Because they don't want to tackle or confront the hunger problem, or they don't want us to get out of the hunger trap, they are saying you should look at the hunger that is going to crop up in the year 2020. Somehow we are not worried about the surplus that we have right now. If we were to take care of the surplus right now, I can assure you that the hunger that we are talking about in the year 2020 will not be there.

    Let's make a beginning by first taking care of or at least taking this monumental task upon ourselves -- we must ensure that the surplus 60 million tonnes that we have got has to be distributed among the poor people. And unless we do that, I don't think we have the right to say that we should be worried about the hunger that is going to crop up in the year 2020. Let's be sure -- more and more people are dying in India by producing more rather than producing less, and that is something that we need to be very, very clear about.

    --- Excerpts from talk by Devinder Sharma, Transcript of a speech delivered at a National Convention on Biotechnology and hunger, organised by the Andhra Pradesh Coalition in Defence of Diversity, Deccan Development Society and the Centre for World Solidarity, Hyderabad, India; July 2, 2001.

  • Response from ESPAC for FIPPAT study on the Endosulfon Issue at Padre
    ENDOSULFAN SPRAY PROTEST ACTION COMMITTEE ( ESPAC) Perla - Padre - 671552 Kasaragod, Kerala
    Correspondence: C/O Kajampady Nursing Home, Post Perla 671552

    The Enmakaje Panchayath today disowned the PCK sponsored FIPPAT study. According to Smt . Y.Sharadha , Panchayath President, "The FIPPAT team had not officially requested the panchayath for sampling". There was no representatives of people or prominent personalities who witnessed the sampling. It is known that PCK has collected blood samples of all the 56 workers of the Perla Division for the first time in 26 years. But none of the workers have been informed about their blood contamination levels. We from ESPAC allege that the FIPPAT study seems to be cooked up to absolve the chemical endosulfan from being made the culprit. How else can one explain the events that followed the supposed study ? The PCK, as per press reports, has spent Rs. 7 lakhs to get FIPPAT to do the study . FIPPAT report is submitted to Pesticide manufacturers. It is PMFAI which releases the abstracts to the Press in Calicut and Thiruvananthapuram .

    This only proves two things:
    The unholy nexus between the PCK, the FIPPAT and the Pesticide Industry who are desperate to prove the innocence of endosulfan.
    Cooking up evidence in desperation at the end of 26 years of violation and trying to absolve the chemical and themselves from owning up this toxic legacy.

    In a study sponsored by Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) - the All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on Pesticides Residues in 1999 -out of 422 farm-gate vegetables tested for residue of endosulfan 322 (79%) were found to be contaminated . The contamination ranged upto 18.63 mg/kg ( the second most contaminating factor, after residues of copper ( upto 75 mg/kg), which is a metal and does not undergo degradation. The allowable Maximum Residue levels of endosulfan in food is 0.5 to 2 mg/kg. Moreover, the contamination percentage of endosulfan (79%) was second only to Lindane (96%). This being the case, it is scientifically impossible not to detect any levels of endosulfan in the samples taken from an area, which has been continuously exposed to endosulfan aerially for the last 26 years.

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    Chief, SAMANVAYA
    Plot #26, Bank Colony, 1st Street,
    Madhavaram, Chennai - 600051 INDIA
    Email: samanvaya@vsnl.com

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