The Environment Ministry today refused to extend the October 5 deadline for receiving public feedback on the biosafety dossier prepared by its panel on GM Mustard, even as several organisations wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding a ban on the hybrid product.
The Ministry said it would now examine the over 100 representations on the biosafety dossier after which these would be sent to the sub-committee for its consideration.
Anti-GM groups have been demanding an extension of the deadline for public feedback on the biosafety dossier.
Kisan Ekta wrote a letter to Modi, noting that GM crops are not the solution and demanded denial of approval to GM Mustard, while Coalition for GM Free India alleged the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) ran a “sham” of a public consultation process which shows that it has something to hide on this “unwanted unneeded and unsafe” GM crop.
“Once we have gone through the representations, we will pass it on to the sub-committee which was formed to look into the biosafety of GM mustard. Once they have studied it, they will come up with the final version and then it will be taken up in the GEAC.
“We have got around 110 email representations. Around 10-12 people have also come to the Ministry and read the dossier which had been placed there. We have decided that there will be no extension of the feedback deadline,” a top Environment Ministry official told PTI, adding that the dates of GEAC’s next meeting has not been decided as of now.
The Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP) of Delhi University had applied for Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) approval for environmental release of hybrid DMH-11 for the development of new generation hybrids. GEAC constituted experts sub-committee to examine the biosafety data on GM mustard.
After the committee examined it, the report was placed on the Environment Ministry’s website inviting comments from stakeholders within a period of 30 days, which ended today.
“GM crops are not the solution. We want the government to immediately stop the approval of GM Mustard. Do not push GM crops in the name of farmers. What we need is a ‘Yellow Revolution’, with better prices support and increased import tariffs for oil.
“Dear Modiji, We also wish to state that we will commit to help India increase its oil seed production and attain self sufficiency, provided we are supported in the right manner. Our response to the Biosafety Assessment is hence very clear. We do not want this hazardous crop GM Mustard,” Kisan Ekta said in its letter to Modi.