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Farmers protest against Govt’s GM mustard commercialisation plot

A key meeting of GEAC, an apex body of Environment Ministry, on Friday deliberated on the fate of commercialisation of GM Mustard in India but did not take any decision even as farmers protested demanding cancellation of the meet. “We are not taking any decision on the matter (of GM Mustard) today,” a senior Environment Ministry official said. 

The ministry’s Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is authorised to approve the use of genetically modified crops or organisms in the country. The protesters, who staged dharna outside the ministry under the banner Sarson Satyagrah, also submitted a petition to Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar asking the government not to go ahead with its plan to commercialise GM Mustard. Delhi Minister Kapil Mishra also joined the protesters. 

“The Environment Minister has assured us that no permission to GM Mustard will be given in today’s meeting. They have also given an assurance to us that they will hold a consultative meeting with us before taking any decision on the matter,” said Kavitha Kuruganti of Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), part of Sarson Satyagrah. 

She said the minister has also stated that a representation from the Health Ministry in the GEAC would be included as the matter is directly related to public health. “There has always been a demand from consumers to include a representation from the Health Ministry in the GEAC so that the impacts of GM crops on human health are checked. They have finally agreed to it,” Kuruganti said. The protesters alleged that the processes undertaken by regulators were actually defying Supreme Court and CIC orders in terms of transparency. 
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