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Not yet seen GM mustard details, will take time: Harsh Vardhan

Science & tech minister minister Vardhan recently replaced Anil Dave as the environment minister

Sanjeeb Mukherjee  |  New Delhi 

A farmer casts urea on her mustard field in Allahabad
A farmer casts urea on her mustard field in Allahabad

Union minister Harsh Vardhan, who recently took charge of the environment ministry, on Tuesday said he could not comment on the efficacy of as he had not yet gone through the files or spoken to scientists.
 
Union Science of Technology Minister Vardhan had been given additional charge of the environment and forests ministry, after the death of minister last week.
 
“I have taken over as the environment minister only yesterday and have not gone through the files related to I will take a call only after going through the details,” Vardhan, who was highlighting the ministry’s achievements in the past three years, told reporters.
 
The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), under the environment ministry, had a few weeks ago cleared for commercial use. The final decision on a commercial launch now rests with the Union environment minister.
 
A few years earlier, the then environment minister Jairam Ramesh had stopped the commercial release of Bt brinjal, despite a clearance from GEAC, for want of enough studies.
 
On Monday, anti-activists had written to Vardhan to exercise “supreme objectivity” on decisions regarding the matter. They also claimed it was an “unacceptable conflict of interest” for him as he also held the science and technology portfolio.
 
In their letter to Vardhan, the activists claimed that his predecessor Dave, according to some people close to him, was not in favour of approving and was also "toying with the idea of resigning from his post" rather than giving his approval. The activists asked Vardhan to reject GM mustard, claiming it was a “hazardous scientific fraud” being imposed on the nation.
 
Aside from the issue, Vardhan also said on Tuesday that he had written to the governments of Bihar and other states to prepare their action plans to deal with heat waves.

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