GM mustard gets GEAC nod for cultivation
Environment Minister to take final call
AFTER MONTHS of suspense, a genetically-modified variety of mustard, developed by a Delhibased institute, has been cleared for commercial cultivation by the country’s top regulator on genetically-engineered organisms.
The GEAC, or Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, a body that functions under the Environment Ministry, on Thursday gave its recommendation to approve the long-pending application of the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants at Delhi University which had developed a transgenic mustard called DMH-11.
The recommendation for clearance has been sent to Environment Minister Anil Madhavdavewhohastoapprove the decision.
The GEAC’S decision on Thursday puts DHM-11 mustard at a stage where Bt brinjal, a transgenic variety of brinjal, had found itself seven years ago. Bt brinjal was the first genetically modified food crop that had reached the Environment Minister’s table for clearance after obtaining all the necessary regulatory requirements. The then Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, however, had refused clearance and put an indefinite moratorium the decision. That moratorium continues to this day.
GM mustard is the only other food crop which has made it to this last stage, after prolonged debate and several rounds of regulatory checks that has been going on for years. It is not clear what Dave would decide on this crop.
But organisations opposed to genetically-modified crops slammed the GEAC’S decision.
“GEAC has proved yet again that it is unscientific and uncaring with regard to citizens’ health and environment. They have failed in their very mandate and purpose for which they have been created, to protect citizens from the risk of GMOS... We hope and urge minister Anil Madhav Dave to be responsible in his decision-making. This GM mustard should be rejected just as Bt brinjal was, seven years ago,” said Sarson Satyagraha which claims to be a platform for “hundreds of organisations” representing farmers and scientists opposed to introduction of GM mustard.
Rss-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch also criticised the decision of GEAC. “We are against the commercial use of any genetically modified crops, including GM mustard. And we will request that the government should not allow its commercial cultivation,” said SJM co-convener Ashwani Mahajan. ■ Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday launched a mobile application with an aim to directly communicate with 10 lakh Central armed police force personnel. ■ Due to security concerns, the APP-MHA Mobile Application will not be available on Android, Apple or any other App store. Personnel would be able to download it only through the ministry's website. ■ “Now, I’m only a click away. Jawans can directly key in their grievances through the app and I would monitor the status every month,” said Singh, adding the app was conceptualised at a meet last year.