Growing clamour against GM mustard; Dave meets protesters

The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, a body of the ministry that evaluates genetically modified crops, had on May 11 recommended the commercial use of GM mustard.

Published: 17th May 2017 05:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th May 2017 08:45 PM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose.

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: A group of civil society organizations Wednesday took out a protest march to the Ministry of Environment and Forests office here opposing GM Mustard and also threatened to launch national wide protests if final nod is given by the ministry.   

A delegation also met Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave and informed him about GM Mustard and about what oilseed producing farmers need as policy initiatives from the government for increasing production. 

The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has given a go ahead for commercialization of transgenic mustard DMH-11 was developed by Delhi University former Vice Chancellor Deepak Pental led Centre for Genetic Manipulation and Crop Plants (CGMCP). The final nod has to come from environment minister. 

Civil society groups have been opposing the transgenic crops and have cited that the claims around yield increases and decline in edible oil imports by adoption of this GM mustard were totally unfounded while the benefit claims have no basis or proof presented, and have indeed been discounted by the Government itself in its affidavit to the Supreme Court.

“We hear that the government is preparing its report card to the nation on three years of Modi Sarkaar. Is this GM mustard Modi government’s dangerous gift to the nation, to mark its 3 years in existence?,” asked  said Yudhvir Singh of Bhartiya Kisan Union and Convenor of Indian Coordination Committee for Farmers’ Movements (ICCFM).

He said that they all would like to remind the government about what BJP had promised in its Manifesto in 2014 with regard to GM technology, and that this GM mustard in no way abides by that commitment.

Meanwhile, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment & Forests, Science & Technology Renuka Choudhury has written to the Environment Minister that GM mustard should not be approved since the Committee is studying the subject and will give its report soon.

Rajesh Krishnan of the Coalition for a GM-Free India said that the nation is waiting to see a responsible and fearless decision from the Environment Minister, and for him to reject the GM mustard application.

“So far, Bihar, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Delhi governments have written to the Centre against GM mustard approval, and states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Odisha and West Bengal have stated that they will not allow GM mustard,” he said.

Kavitha Kuruganti of Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) said that adverse environmental health impacts of such crops are showing up in South American countries like Argentina, prompting the medical fraternity there to issue warnings.

“GM mustard is unneeded, unsafe and is being sought to be brought in fraudulently, with all data hidden from independent scientific scrutiny,” said Kuruganti.                        
[8:38 PM, 5/17/2017] +91 95001 02551: The Anti-Corruption Branch, probing tanker scam on Wednesday questioned Delhi CM’s private secretary. According to the ACB, they will question 6 staffers working with Delhi CM. Sources in ACB has confirmed that Bibhav Kumar has not told anything and didn’t get files which he had been asked to bring.

“Kejriwal’s PS Bibhav Kumar was summoned last week to join investigation but he met the officials on Wednesday. He arrived at 11.30 AM for the questioning at the ACB office. He had been asked to bring some files but he didn’t get some,” an official investigating the matter said.

Earlier, The ACB recorded sacked Delhi minister Kapil Mishra's detailed statement who is also a complainant in the case now. Mishra has been asked to join investigation on Thursday. According to the ACB officials, so far no concrete document has been provided to the officials by Kapil Mishra. He has given old documents and a summary letter.

The Kejriwal-led AAP government had in June 2015 constituted a fact-finding committee to go into alleged irregularities in procuring some 385 stainless steel water tankers by the DJB. The Delhi government in June 2016 sent a report of the fact-finding committee to Jung following which an FIR was registered in the case.

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