The Kerala Swatantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation (KSMTF), a leading organization of the fishing community, has criticized the State Government’s decision to recommend the name of Dr M.S. Swaminathan for Bharat Ratna.
Dr Swaminathan, well-known agricultural scientist, hails from a former landowning family of Kerala. The State government decided to recommend his name in recognition of the role he had played in the success of the Green Revolution.
C. Subramaniam, who, as Union Agriculture Minister, had promoted the Green Revolution, had been honoured with the award of Bharat Ratna earlier.
Alleging that Dr. Swaminathan’s work had harmed the traditional rights of the fishing community, KSMTF president T. Peter called for a proper and critical appraisal of his contribution to the agricultural and fisheries sectors.
As an agricultural scientist, Swaminathan might be the father of Green Revolution in India, but it must be remembered that “this very revolution has done great harm not only to agriculture in the country but also to fisheries,” he said. Its role in creating the situation that led to thousands of farmers committing suicide could not be denied. Agro-chemicals promoted by the Green Revolution had poisoned not only farmlands but also water resources. The grains and vegetables consumed by citizens of this country had been affected by toxic chemicals.
Peter added that Kuttanad, the main area of rice production in the state, had used maximum pesticides causing irreversible problems for fisheries. Large-scale destruction of fish had taken place in the region. Scientists had identified chemical pesticides as a causative factor in this.