‘March against Monsanto,’ a global event to coincide with the World Food Day, will be held in the city on October 12. The event is aimed at spreading awareness of ‘the negative impact’ of the multinational giant which has interests in genetically modified crops, seeds and fertilizers.
400 cities to protest
The event will be held simultaneously in more than 400 cities. Thanal and Indus Cycling Company are organising the event in the city. The centre of activities here will be the Manaveeyam Veedhi. The programmes will start at 5 a.m. on Saturday with a 12-hour long cycle sathyagraha. Simultaneously, a 12-hour nonstop musical protest led by singer Ganesh Kunjan and group will take place.
Later in the day, artists from the Fine Arts College will provide a dash of colours to the protests. The public have also been invited to take part in the open painting display.
The organisers say that it is important to raise awareness of Monsanto as it is notorious across the world for its misdeeds, including pollution of natural resources, falsifying safety reports to show that the dangerous chemicals it produces are safe, collusion with regulators and false advertising. It produces Polychlorinated biphenyls that are potent carcinogens and have been implicated in reproductive, developmental and immune system disorders.
Activists also point to its hand in developing ‘Agent Orange,’ a chemical which was used widely in the battlefield during the Vietnam War. But even with this track record, the company is being welcomed by the Government of India and it has now reached a position where it can manipulate the agricultural policy of the country. Monsanto also has monopolised the cotton seed market in India by owning 95 per cent of the market share through licensing agreements with various seed companies. It is also behind the push to bring in a GM crop promotional act called the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill.