Rigged data used for GM Mustard clearance, claims NGO
By Express News Service | Published: 20th June 2016 09:14 PM |
NEW DELHI: The Delhi University scientists led by former Vice Chancellor Deepak Pental notched up yield increases through transgenic mustard hybrid DMH-11 by around 7.5 percent through rigged research and development and testing, said a civil society group Monday.
The Coalition for a GM-Free India also shared the raw data from field trials which shows that derived yield is completely at variance with yields reported by the Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGCMP) and basic scientific understanding will clearly show that data is unbelievable in its possibility of natural occurrence. Under pressure from civil society, farmer groups and scientists, the environment ministry in February this year did not give permission for commercialization of GM Mustard and sought more details from developers.
The members of the group said that they walked out of a meeting with the Union Environment Ministry’s Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) after the committee did not give them enough time to hear their concerns.
“The GMO approved for R&D (GM Mustard) in 2003 is not the same as being assessed now. This is scientifically unacceptable, that the same dossier is being maintained for different GMOs and events. From all materials available in the public domain, it appears that GEAC members have been kept in the dark about such a swapping of parents,” said the group.
It further said that environmental safety testing, bypassing rigorous agronomic evaluation, cannot be considered as a valid basis for yield claims related to DMH-11, which is the main basis for the introduction of this GMO.
“We further show that the 28.4 percent higher yield is also miscalculated by presenting a value derived from average of averages,” it added.
The coalition said that the expediency and haste in testing raise serious questions about the scientific competence or integrity of the crop developers. The fact that GEAC has allowed the GMO to proceed this far based on unscientific claims exposes bare the incompetence and unscientific bias of the regulators.
“There is a clear environment that the government and its regulators have built, of wanting to support the interests of seed and chemical manufacturers, at the expense of farmers and other citizens, despite numerous risks and evidence of fraudulent science,” said Yudhvir Singh, Convenor, Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers’ Movements (ICCFM), and a farmer leader of BKU.
The coalition also said that the data they accessed through RTI shows that the ICAR’s premier rapeseed mustard research body called Directorate of Rapeseed Mustard Research (DRMR) only passed on the data related to trials to GEAC instead conducting and supervising it as claimed by the crop developers.
“It is clear from the analysis of data so far that farmers will not benefit from this transgenic hybrid mustard. In fact, we have been saying that improvement in oilseed production will happen through other policy level changes,” said Rampal Jat of Kisan Mahapanchayat.