A CPI(M)-backed farmers' body today strongly objected to India's GM crop regulator recommending commercial use of genetically modified mustard. The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) has asked the government to not allow the same before the grievances on its health and environment concerns were resolved. The AIKS stressed that it was not against any scientific upgradation in the agriculture sector, but said the government should not provide "benefits" to corporate houses involved in agro-chemical business at the cost of public interest. It also suggested the Centre to first consult the state governments on the issue given that agriculture is a state subject. Biotech regulator Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) had last week recommended the commercial use of genetically modified mustard in a submission to the environment ministry. "AIKS demands that all the grievances of farmers and the public must be resolved before allowing GM mustard. "It is a matter of great concern that the GEAC has recommended to Central government to allow the commercial production of GM mustard," AIKS general secretary Hannan Mollah and president Amra Ram said in a joint statement. The two leaders further contended that GM mustard was a modified crop and therefore could absorb huge amount of herbicides (chemical substances used to control unwanted plants). The GEAC, they said, has not provided among others appropriate information about the amount of glufosinate GM mustard crop contains, health safety measures and effects of this on environment and balance of nature. "Also this modified seeds will provide patent to agro- chemical corporations squeezing old domestic mustard and they will enjoy monopoly on seeds and fertilisers used for this crop," Mollah and Ram claimed.
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