GM mustard: Govt faces uphill task amid resistance

NEW DELHI: The anti-GM mustard grouping assured the path to commercialisation of India’s first genetically modified food crop will not be easy.

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 29

The anti-GM mustard grouping assured the path to commercialisation of India’s first genetically modified food crop will not be easy.

Apart from protests by environmentalists, activists and states over the central biotech regulator GEAC’s recent nod to commercial cultivation of GM mustard, top BJP leaders are also propagating extra caution given the health and environment issues involved.

A BJP leader said scientists should be allowed to do their job (conduct technical and scientific studies on GM food) but apprehensions regarding health and environmental issues need to be addressed”.

On GEAC’s decision on the GM Herbicide Tolerant mustard variety developed by the Delhi University, the BJP functionary quoted the party’s 2014 election manifesto to stress his point.

The manifesto says: “No GM seed will be allowed for cultivation without full scientific data on long-term effects on soil, production and biological impact on consumers.”

On the perception that the PM was “not listening” to the concerns despite the “promise in the manifesto”, the BJP leader said “MNC’s spin (on the issue) should not be believed”.

Recently, after Bihar and Kerala, West Bengal too joined the list of states that decided against allowing the cultivation of GM mustard. Apart from the five non-BJP ruled states, similar concerns have been voiced by the ones ruled by the BJP such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, MP and UP.

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