Opposing GM Food & Crops: Lab Rat Returns: First Salvo Fired at State Health Minister.
Opposing GM Food & Crops: First Salvo Fired at Orissa State Health Minister Living Farms, Bhubaneswar
Bhubaneswar:At the recently concluded 2nd Annual National Convention Meet organised by the Orissa Homeopathic Druggists Association (OHDA), attended by 1200 homoeopaths and pharmaceutical representatives from all over India, the dignitaries present squirmed in their seats when Dr Rathindra Nath Dutta, the President of OHDA and prominent member of Doctors for Food Safety, lashed out at the authorities present in the dias, including the State Health Minister, for not paying enough attention to the GM (Genetic Modification) debate.
In his inaugural Presidential speech he detailed how genetic engineering was changing the traits of various food crops. He pointed out that genetic engineering was about interfering with the genetic structure of plants. ¨¨Through such activity we are destroying the natural gene pool and creating new mutations in the natural world resulting in harmful flora and fauna around us. Widespread introduction of this technology will result in completely nullifying the whole principle of homeopathy as most of the drugs in homeopathy are produced from food crops and medicinal plants. Medicines prepared from genetically modified plants will not work as the symptomalogy will have changed. Our entire Materia Medica would be rendered useless. The whole system of homeopathy will be jeopardised and will lead to chaos amongst homeopaths.¨¨
¨¨I request all the homeopathic fraternity and the eminent guests present in this inaugural ceremony to raise their voice against genetic modification of plants. Recent news reports indicate that medicinal plants are being interfered with by institutes in Kerala with consent from Ministry of Science and Technology. This must be immediately stopped. The Health Ministry should immediately interfere and all the medicinal plants identified under the National Medicinal Plants Board must be declared as cultural and medicinal heritage of India. No genetic engineering should be permitted under them.¨¨
His Excellency The Governor Muralidhar C Bhandare listened with keen attention and nodded in agreement even as Sri Sanatan Bisi, the State Health Minister, preferred to remain stoical. The other dignitaries including an Union Minister, senior health officials from all over India, dignitaries from AYUSH, IMS, Hi Tech Medical College, Principals of all the Homeopathic Medical Colleges in Orissa, clapped at the end of the speech. His Excellency Sri Bhandare hoped that homeopathy would provide a safe and cheap alternative to the costly allopathic system of medicine.
The I AM NO LAB RAT campaigners went around distributing leaflets amongst the doctors who eagerly reached out so as to read more on the subject. ¨¨We had no clue about this,¨ said Pravas Mondol a pharmcist from West Bengal, ¨¨we will be pushed out of business if this happens.¨¨ Others nodded in agreement. ¨¨If our medicines turn toxic our patients will have nowhere to turn to. Even the allopathic doctors should be worried as they too turn to plants for many of their medicines. Why homeopathy even ayurveda and Siddha would be ruined. This attempt must be opposed. We should never allow this to happen,¨¨ said Dr P C Panda, a member of the organising committee. The organising committee members helped the campaigners distribute their material and explain the subject to an inquisitive audience.
Among others Prof Dr Chaturbhuj Nayak, Head, Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH), Prof Dr Laxmikanta Nanda, Principal A C Homeopathic Medical College and member CCRH, Bhubaneswar, Dr Tirupati Panigrahi, Chairman Hi Tech Group of Educational Institutions, and eminent homeopath Dr Ajit Kulkarni spoke on the occasion. A souvenier Homeo a´´fair 2008 containing the speech of Dr Rathindra Nath Dutta and scientific articles by senior practicing homeopaths and researchers was released on the occasion. Over 2000 copies would be distributed nationwide.
Lab Rat hopes that the Health Minister would nibble at this information and act on it especially as Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, the Union Health Minister, has already declared that he would oppose the entry of GM food and crops into India.
Debjeet Sarangi, Jagannath Chatterjee Living Farms, Bhubaneswar.
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