A parliamentary panel headed by Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury is likely to review the clearance given for the commercial cultivation of the genetically-modified mustard by the central biotech regulator GEAC. Last week, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), under the Environment Ministry, recommended the GM mustard for commercial cultivation. The final approval is yet to be given by Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests, headed by Chowdhury is likely to review the GM crops and their environmental impact, an official source said. The committee has deliberated upon this subject several times and is likely to meet this month to review the clearance given by the GEAC for GM mustard’s commercial cultivation, source added.
Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP), Delhi University South Campus, had submitted an application to the GEAC for the environmental release of GM mustard (brassica juncea) hybrid DMH-11.The environment ministry had received over 700 comments from various stakeholders, including farmers and researchers, on the Assessment of Food and Environmental Safety (AFES) report on GM mustard which it had earlier posted on the ministry website.
The application was submitted in 2015 after which several rounds of meeting were held by the GEAC. The sub-committee also convened meetings with experts. The GEAC had also heard the views of various NGOs which are not in favour of giving an approval to GM crops. Among the opponents were organisations affiliated to the RSS.
GM mustard is the second genetically modified food crop after Bt Brinjal that has obtained all required regulatory approvals and reached the Environment Minister’s table for clearance. Former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had refused clearance to Bt Brinjal and put an indefinite moratorium on the decision.