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Activists urge Javadekar to make public all info on GM mustard safety

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on November 02, 2015

GM

The Coalition for GM Free India, a network of organisations and individuals, has urged Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar to stop the processing and approval of genetically modified mustard in India and make public all the information regarding the safety tests.

In a statement in response to a news report that an application for approval for commercial cultivation of GM mustard has been moved with the apex regulatory body, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), under the Environment Ministry, the Coalition said the government should take public feedback before arriving at a decision.

“This is the first time India would be considering commercial cultivation approval of any GM food crop after an indefinite moratorium was placed on Bt brinjal five years ago in February 2010,” said the Coalition.

The GM mustard, developed by Delhi University, called Dhara Mustard Hybrid 11 (DMH11), has adopted transgenic technology to facilitate hybridisation and claims increased yields. 

Rajesh Krishnan, convenor of Coalition, alleged that this GM mustard hybrid had been created “mainly to facilitate the seed production work of seed manufacturers” even as farmers already have a choice of non-GM mustard hybrids in the market, in addition to high-yielding mustard varieties. 

He said his RTI application for biosafety data had been declined with regard to this GM mustard, adding that “GEAC is functioning in a highly secretive fashion, and while the nation does not know what is happening inside the regulatory institutions with applications like this GM mustard, biosafety data is being repeatedly declined by the regulators.”

Kavitha Kuruganti, Convenor of Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), who has also been seeking biosafety data under RTI Act without any success, said repeated requests to meet the Environment Minister to “share our concerns has met with no success.”

Published on November 02, 2015
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