Updated: November 18, 2015 12:20:25 am
Activist forum — GM-Free Bengal – has opposed government alleged efforts to approve genetically modified (GM) mustard for commercial cultivation. Claiming that this was an attempt by multinationals to “enter the Indian market indirectly with the educational system”, the activists warned of severe impact on bio-diversity and human health.
At the centre of the controversy is the allegation that Centre is going to approve commercial cultivation of GM mustard under the guise of “hybrid mustard”. Coalition for a GM-Free India have urged the West Bengal government to continue their ban on the use of GM crops in the state. GM-Free India is a platform of NGOs working for prevention of GM Crop cultivation in the country.
A large section of farmers, scientists and civil society organisations have urged the West Bengal government to ban its cultivation in the state. The GM mustard crop, called DMH 11 (Dhara Mustard Hybrid 11), has been created by the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGCMP), Delhi University, with support from the department of biotechnology and the National Dairy Development Board. A deputation was submitted to state agriculture minister Purnendu Basu on Monday, where the activists urged him to oppose the move that “brings GM mustard closer to our plates and farmers”.
“This is an attempt by multinationals to make their entry into the Indian market with GM seeds indirectly with the Indian educational system to gain confidence,” said A K Ghosh, a former member of Planning Commission task force on environment and biodiversity.
Activist Kavita Kuruganti alleged that there were “vested interest groups” in the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee itself. The activists felt that allowing GM mustard would have a severe impact on bio-diversity.
Geneticist Tushar Chakraborty said West Bengal would be worst affected if GM mustard is commercialised.
The state government did not allow any GM trials in the state.
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