Rishikesh (Uttarakhand), March 7 (Calcutta Tube) Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Saturday came out against the unbridled entry of GM food into the country. GM crops should be introduced in our country only after proven tests and experiments, he said.
‘We don’t need a bill that encourages free entry of GM food into India, without ensuring health safety of the people, besides penalizing the voice of protest,’ he said in a statement here.
Ravi Shankar said the commendable work done by Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh in putting a moratorium on the introduction of BT Brinjal was going to be negated with the enactment of The Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill 2009 (BRAI) in the current session of parliament.
He said the bill proposes to gag the media (Section 63) since it infringes upon the fundamental right of freedom of speech.
‘The penalty for creating awareness (misleading the public) about the ill effects of Genetically Modified issues may lead to an imprisonment of minimum six months and upto one year with a maximum fine of Rs.2 lakhs,’ he said. ‘The clauses of this bill are draconian and more stringent than even the repealed acts like POTA, TADA.’
He added that there was no provision for action against the company for concealment of facts (ill-effects) as it happened in case of tobacco in the US where the court fined $250 billion after several years.