NEW DELHI: Appealing to Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave to reject commercialization of GM Mustard, Supreme Court lawyer and Swaraj India convener Prashant Bhushan said that India is a centre of diversity in mustard and with commercialised GM crop, contamination of non-GMO is certain.
Bhushan wrote a letter to Dave in the backdrop of ministry’s genetic engineering approval committee recommending commercialisation of country’s first food GM crops. The final nod will come from environment minister. Bt cotton is the only crop allowed in the country.
The mustard hybrid, DMH-11 was developed by Delhi University former Vice Chancellor Deepak Pental led Centre for Genetic Manipulation and Crop Plants (CGMCP).
“I would like to emphasise that GMO contamination is neither remediable nor reversible and is the outstanding concern. The genes in HT hybrid DMH 11 are toxic genes: being an herbicide tolerant crop also means that DMH 11 is a pesticidal crop. Its nationality doesn’t change the science,” said Bhushan.
Explaining the harm GM crop will do, Bhushan said the issue also is that with GMO contamination, our mustard will be changed at the molecular level.
“Any toxicity that there is will remain in perpetuity. Are we prepared to be the agents for such monumental risk and put India and its people in jeopardy without any recourse and remedy?” he questioned, urging the minister to reject it in the public interest.
The Supreme Court lawyer also cited an apex court order whereby Chief Justice, based on the assurance given by the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that the Union of India will not release DMH 11 “without the prior approval of the Supreme Court”, accordingly, gave a verbal order of an interim injunction till the case is heard comprehensively and the issue of HT mustard in substance.