NEW DELHI: A technical subcommittee of the Union Environment Ministry has given a go ahead for the approval of GM Mustard and the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is likely to recommend its commercial release next month.
After GEAC, GM Mustard will be the first GM food crop to be grown in the country as a moratorium was put on release of Bt Brinjal in 2010 after opposition from the civil society and environmental groups.
The technical subcommittee was constituted to look into biosafety of the crop and in its meeting held on August 11 has found it safe. According to sources, the approval of GM Mustard is in final stages and final nod will come from Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave.
The environment ministry clarified and issued a statement: “No final decision has been taken as yet on the issue. The GEAC, in a meeting held on August 11, 2016, has examined the Safety Document prepared by the Sub-Committee of the GEAC. The GEAC has appraised the Safety Document prepared by the Sub-Committee and the Safety Document will be put up on the website of GEAC inviting comments from the public.”
Civil society group have been opposing the release of transgenic mustard hybrid DMH-11 developed by Delhi University former Vice Chancellor Deepak Pental led Centre for Genetic Manipulation and Crop Plants (CGMCP).
The Coalition for a GM-Free India has said that the Delhi University scientists notched up yield increases through transgenic mustard hybrid DMH-11 by around 7.5 percent through rigged research and development and testing. 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.
Under pressure from civil society, farmer groups and scientists, the environment ministry in February this year did not give permission for commercialization of GMMustard and sought more details from developers.