Greenpeace members were joined by Delhiites at Dilli Haat near INA Market here on Tuesday morning to cook a record-breaking GM-free baingan ka bharta to oppose the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill, 2011.
The cooking was part of a public campaign that saw several people also signing a petition against the upcoming Bill, which is feared to become an easy single-window clearance system for GM crops in the country.
A battery of chefs from hotel Le Meridien and India Culinary Forum led the cooking of the bharta that has been certified as a record by the Limca Book of Records. A delegation of Greenpeace members later submitted a signed petition to the Prime Minister's Office against the Bill.
“People have the right to say `no' to GM food and that is exactly what we have done today. We hope that the Government will take notice of the voices of its citizens and stop the introduction of Bill which would become a non-transparent, autocratic body which will lower the bar for the GM crop approvals,'' said Sustainable Agriculture campaigner with Greenpeace India, Kapil Mishra.
“Bt. Brinjal, the first GM crop that came up for commercialisation, was put under an indefinite moratorium last year due to opposition by scientists, farmers, consumers, political parties, as well as environmentalists. Brinjal has thus become a national symbol when it comes to opposition to GM crops and this event only resonates that cause,'' he added.
Leading the cooking, Le Meridien executive chef Davinder Kumar said: “We believe in doing whatever we can to ensure safe food and a sustainable environment. We are happy that we could do our bit by joining this people's movement for safe food.''
According to Greenpeace, the bharta was made completely out of organic ingredients sourced from different organic food stores in Delhi to send out a message that there are sustainable alternatives that need government support instead of risky technologies like GM crops.
Rashmi Gupta, a Delhiite who was present at the event and signed the petition, said: “I will not compromise on my family's health because of such unethical regulations passed by the Government and that is the reason why I am here to participate in this event, I strongly believe that healthy eating is healthy living and GM food is a threat to it.”
The gathering also urged the government not to table the Bill but come up with a bio-safety protection legislation that will enhance bio-safety and ensure democratic processes are adhered to when dealing with issues as important as food and farming.