Chennai activists voice against genetically modified mustard

Activists urged the State government to write to the central government asking to stop the GM mustard.
A march conducted against the move to commercially release the genetically modified (GM) mustard for cultivation in Chennai on Saturday.
A march conducted against the move to commercially release the genetically modified (GM) mustard for cultivation in Chennai on Saturday.DT Photo

CHENNAI: With the country one step away from commercially releasing the genetically modified (GM) mustard for cultivation, protests against the move has started in Chennai.

Activists urged the State government to write to the central government asking to stop the GM mustard. A march was conducted against the move in Chennai on Saturday.

Ananthoo of Safe Food Alliance said that the awareness on the GM mustard is low in the State. "When the government tried to introduce genetically modified Brinjal, there was a huge uproar across the country. Genetically modified cotton is a failure as it has not reduced the usage of pesticides," he said.

The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), a body of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, had recommended the environmental release of GM Mustard seeds for trials, demonstrations and seed productions in a meeting on October 18.

A statement released by the Alliance said that GEAC is responsible for appraisal of activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants in research and industrial production from the environmental angled. They can only make recommendations and not give approvals.

"The seeds under scrutiny have the genes of Bar, Barnase and Barstar that have been patented by Bayer. The company had applied for permissions in 2002-03 and was rejected appropriately by GEAC then. Its the Bayer's patented technology offered to Delhi University, hence there is no desi or swadeshi about this," the statement added.

The Alliance alleged that farmers right, women livelihood and consumers health are denied just for the haste to bring this to the market. Usage of herbicides reduces the women livelihoods.

The right to grow various farmer owned and generations of saved traditional sees will be lost thus impacting the seed sovereignty and even our national economy.

"It is not out of place to remind that all our previous chief ministers have written against GMOs being brought out and our present CM also had written as the leader of opposition to then central environment minister," the statement pointed out.

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