JD(U) against commercial use of GM mustard, questions high yield claim

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar had recently said he will write to PM Narendra Modi against commercial cultivation of GM mustard.

PTI| Updated: Sep 07, 2016, 16:05 PM IST

New Delhi: JD(U) on Wednesday said the Centre's move of collecting public feedback on the risk assessment report on GM mustards by an expert committee "reeks of non-serious intent" and demanded that the hybrid variety should not be approved for commercial release.

It argued Indian farmers have proved high yields can be obtained through sustainable agronomic processes and termed as false the claims of higher yield through the GM mustard.

"The three GMOs (genetically modified crops), according to its developers, will have higher yields, but they have been silent about the fact that the GM mustard has been engineered to be herbicide tolerant," the party said in a letter to Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave.

It said there is "enormous evidence" presented to the regulators by civil society groups to prove the higher yields claim is a "false" claim.

Earlier, the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP) of Delhi University had applied for Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC's) approval for environmental release of hybrid DMH-11 for the development of new generation hybrids.

GEAC, the country's biotech regulator, 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 yesterday inviting comments from stakeholders within a period of 30 days.

The party said the GMOs have now been "cleared" by the sub-committee and only an assessment document, and not the full biosafety data, have been put out for public feedback.

"Everything about the process of collecting public feedback reeks of non-serious intent on a biased assessment that is pre-concluded," JD(U) said.

The letter was signed by MP Kaushlender Kumar, secretary Afaq Ahmed Khan and member national executive Aneel Hegde of the party which also held a demonstration at the Environment Ministry today.

JD(U) chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had recently said he will write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against commercial cultivation of GM mustard as it's "not good" for the environment and also mankind.

"In view of many issues including problems with the process of development of the GM mustard, lack of stringent regulatory scrutiny and the potential human and animal health issues and environmental problems, we urge that this GM mustard should not be approved for commercial release," the party said in the letter.