Lapses in nod to GM mustard: Report; developers trash claim | India News


NEW DELHI: The Coalition for a GM-Free India on Friday alleged regulatory lapses in the nod given to genetically modified mustard in the country, flagging how the central regulator, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), committed 15 statutory regulatory violations while permitting environmental release of the transgenic oilseeds.
The claim was, however, strongly rebutted by top scientists including Deepak Pental, ex-vice chancellor of Delhi University, who developed the variety that has potential to increase yield of mustard by 28% over existing varieties.
Releasing a report on alleged lapses in a virtual press conference, representatives of the coalition even challenged the scientists of the government’s farm R&D institutions and others to an open public debate on the issue. The report was released ahead of a crucial hearing by the Supreme Court on matters related to transgenic crops including GM mustard scheduled for January 10.
“The approval given to GM mustard (called DMH-11) by the GEAC demonstrates total failure of India’s limited biosafety regulations and also showcases the serious deficiencies in the regulatory regime. It compromised on public health, environmental safety & socio-economic considerations,” said Kavitha Kuruganti of the coalition. She flagged conflict of interest of the members of the appraisal committee, absence of health experts in the body and inadequate tests before granting approval.
Pental told TOI the body was committed to a GM free India and they were trying to achieve it through courts by “fear mongering and gullibilities on food”. He said: “By their yardstick, anyone who supports the use of GM technologies can not be in the committees as they have a conflict of interest. According to them, only hybrid DMH-11 was tested and not the events. That is a complete lie.”


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