Strongly opposing any move by the country’s biotech regulator to grant approval to GM-Mustard, an RSS body has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention alleging that vested interests are acting in haste, spreading falsehood and hiding facts on the issue.
The Swadeshi Jagran Manch, affiliated to the RSS – ruling BJP’s ideological mentor, has said truth is being shielded and government is being “misguided” about the safety, yield and intellectual property rights of the GM mustard which is being touted as “Swadeshi”.
It also said that GM Mustard is being pushed in haste for approval without studying the scientific data.
“Truth is being shielded and government is being misguided about the safety, yield and IPR (due to patented genes). We take this opportunity to request you to intervene in the matter and ensure that no permission is given to GM mustard,” the Manch wrote in a letter to the Prime Minister.
Manch national co-convener Ashwani Mahajan told PTI that, “Swadeshi Jagran Manch has been constrained to write to PM, because vested interest groups and people at high levels are trying to project their falsehoods due to the menace of conflict of interest.”
He said it is a phenomenon which should be avoided for regulatory mechanism also with regard to the regulation of GM crops, as suggested by Technical Expert Committee of Supreme Court.
Mahajan said, “By hurrying up the process of approval for GM mustard, all decency, transparency, scientific rigour and previous practices have been kept at bay, for no reason.”
He added that by practicing this, scientific community has been denied to study and scrutinise the scientific data to understand the effects of GM mustard on health, environment and bio diversity.
“We are again constrained to write that no long term or feeding tests have been conducted to ascertain the effect of GM mustard on human and animal health,” he said.
The SJM said GM crops (along with herbicides they promote) are injurious to honey bees, as has been proved world over and honey bees are important not only for producing honey but also for increasing agricultural yields.
This is the reason that honey bee keepers are on the streets agitating against the proposed introduction of the GM mustard, he said.
The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) had constituted a sub-committee of scientific experts to examine the bio-safety data on GM-mustard. The GEAC sub-committee’s report was placed on the Environment Ministry website, inviting public comments.
The time given to the public for their comments on the issue ends tomorrow.