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Farmers launch massive agitation against new patent law [India News]

Web India, updated 2 Feb 2003 http://www.webindia123.com/news/m_details.asp?newscode=91263&catcode=ENG3&subcatcode=

New Delhi, Feb 1 Several agitating farmers' organisations and trade unions today announced February 26 as a day of countrywide agitation with a march to parliament followed by a "Beej Satyagraha" to oppose the new 'anti-people' patent law.

Flaying the new law which came into effect from January 1, Dr Vandana Shiva, the Director of Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology said, ''it sneaked in through an ordinance dated December 26 last year and it totally introduces seed totalitarianism at the hands of the big multinationals.

"It jeopardises every farmer of this country who has for centuries used a part of his crop as seed and exchanged it as the new law does not differentiate that seed with a genetically modified one. In other words, the farmer will have no right to sow his own seed on his own land as some trait of his seed could be a patented one for which he can be sued," she said.

Announcing the decision to launch a "Beej Satyagraha" on Baisakhi day, the harvest festival, which falls on April 13, Ms Shiva said, "how can they talk of a re-enactment of the Dandi march in Sabarmati and in the same breadth take away from the farmer his right to his own seed."

Talking of the other aspects she said, "there are no clear definitions on several issues in the ordinance. The pharma and the software industry are the two other areas which will be badly hit which is why we will fight it tooth and nail. If we cannot prevent the parliament passing the bill which will be introduced this budget session we will openly defy it."

Speaking to the press Mr B K Keayla, Convener National Working Group on Patent Laws, said, "There were no expert consultations or discussions done and several of the earlier recommendations have in fact been done away with. The Mashelkar Committee report which had said that patenting should to applicable only to new molecules has been done away with the scope of patentability being too wide." [India News]

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