NEW DELHI: A group of scientists, many of them former vice chancellors of agriculture universities, Thursday to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to immediately stop release of Genetically Modified Mustard (GM Mustard) and order an investigation as the transgenic crop could harm farmers of the country.
Stressing that they all are well informed that 21st century is the era of science and technology and technologies emerging through use of science cannot be neglected the group of 18 scientists listed out reasons behind their opposition.
“It is very painful to see that few learned scientists in India positioned in higher hierarchy in government administration, tries to induce the technology harmful to Indian farmers and to our assets of biodiversity in indigenous improved varieties of commercial as well as food crops,” they said.
GM mustard has been developed by the Delhi University-based Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants and the environment ministry’s Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) in May has recommended for its commercial release. Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan has to give final nod.
Seeking PM’s urgent attention, scientists wrote: “We therefore sincerely pray to you Sir to intervene in the matter and direct the concerned authorities to investigate and stop the release to save the Indian farmers from the clutches of MNCs, to avoid indiscriminate use of the herbicides in near future, to save indigenous high yielding varieties of crop plants. We are always with you as soldiers in nation building.”
They alleged that there is hidden agenda behind release of GM Mustard.
“Moreover, they (part of government) have hidden agenda to exhaust indigenous seed of the crops over powering with those under patent regime of foreign multinationals. There is sufficient ground to doubt their integrity towards Indian farmers, who are being made more dependent on monopolised seed under IPR regime of foreign multinational companies,” they added.
Once approved, GM Mustard will be the first transgenic food crop allowed in India. A moratorium was put in GM brinjal in 2010 following protests by civil society and farmers groups. Right wing groups like Swadeshi Jagran Manch have also registered their protests over GM Mustard.