“We need responsible science to prevail given solid evidence against GM mustard”

Coalition notes that Centre is not rushing headlong into GM mustard environmental release: “We need responsible science to prevail given solid evidence against GM mustard”


New Delhi, September 15th 2017: Reacting to the Government of India’s statement in the Supreme Court of India today that it is yet to take a final decision on GM mustard ‘environmental release’, the Coalition for a GM-Free India said that it has noted that the government is not rushing ahead headlong into thrusting an unwanted hazardous technology on citizens of the country, and hopes that the government will use the time taken from the Supreme Court to rigorously and comprehensively study and assimilate all the cautionary evidence being presented. The evidence warrants that GM mustard and other GMOs are not released into the environment, the Coalition said.


“We also take note of the fact that while the Centre is saying that it is yet to take a final call, its affidavits in the Court show clearly that it is headed in the direction of allowing an environmental release of GM mustard, by way of pushing for seed multiplication and ‘demonstration’”, stated the Coalition.


“We hope that responsible science ultimately prevails, given the solid evidence that independent scientists and others presented so far against GM mustard commercialisation”, said the Coalition in a statement. The Coalition also noted that scrutiny of the Government’s handling of this matter by Parliamentary Committees and state governments has been a welcome development.


“In fact, if policy directives were applied or if even diligent regulatory oversight was present, GM mustard would not have reached a stage where its “environmental release” is being considered in the first instance, or 100 crore rupees of taxpayers’ funds spent on a hazardous herbicide tolerant genetically modified crop”, said the Coalition.


In the recent past, practising farmers and other experts from different rapeseed-mustard growing states presented to the national media their first hand experience of improving mustard yields through adoption of agro-ecological practices like System of Mustard Intensification.


“The Government of India has been presenting false information in the Court by claiming that GM mustard is not a herbicide tolerant crop, despite the fact that this GM crop has a herbicide tolerant bar gene present, expressing itself in all parts of the plant. Any delusion that farmers can be penalised and stopped from using glufosinate herbicide on a herbicide tolerant crop is unfounded, and to be complacent about the numerous risks presented by a herbicide tolerant crop is simply unacceptable”.  Further, contamination from GM mustard of non-GM mustard diversity in India is inevitable and objectionable.


The Supreme Court, in its Hearing today, indicated that it will dispose off the current matter on November 22nd 2017, and asked the petitioners to approach the Court in case the government approves GM mustard environmental release before then.





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