Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bio-piracy charges dropped

Bio-piracy charges dropped against two US companies
By DNA Correspondent
February 11, 2012

Karnataka State Biodiversity Board, the regulatory body to implement the Biological Diversity Act, decided to drop the earlier planned legal action against US-based seed companies involved in bio-piracy.

The Indian Biodiversity Authority (IBA) had assured in August last year that it would initiate legal action against the US-based seed companies Monsanto and Mahyco for developing a genetically modified eggplant.

The decision was taken in the 19th meeting of the board held last month. After the city-based NGO, Environment Support Group (ESG) filed complaint of bio-piracy in February last, the board investigated the issues and confirmed its intent to prosecute violators.

After repeated complaints from the NGO, the board conducted an extensive investigation. The board, in June last, asked the IBA to take appropriate action against the companies, the ESG said.

Opposing the latest move of the board, the ESG has now launched a signature campaign to garner support from the general public. The memorandum signed by public will be submitted to chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda seeking his intervention, the ESG added.

ESG had also planned to approach state environment minister Krishna Palemar in this regard, but Palemar has stepped down due to the recent scandal a day after the board decided to drop the legal proceedings.

Earlier, Union minister of state for environment and forests, Jayanti Natarajan, made several statements in Parliament to confirm that action would be initiated as a collective effort of the National Biodiversity Authority and State Biodiversity Boards (in addition to Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh Boards also needed to take action as Monsanto, Mahyco and others had accessed native brinjal varieties from all these regions without appropriate permissions.

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