ALSO READNo decision yet on GM mustard: Environment Ministry Ministry receives 150 comments on GM mustard, decision in few weeks: Official 'Environment Ministry received over 2,300 projects in last 3 'GM mustard generates more yield, benefits farmers' Activists launch 'Sarson Satyagraha' against GM Mustard
The Environment Ministry has received over 700 comments from various stakeholders, including farmers and researchers, on the Assessment of Food and Environmental Safety (AFES) report on environmental release of Genetically Engineered Mustard. With anti-GM activists opposing the approval for GM Mustard and upping their ante against the "unscientific" appraisal process, the Ministry said that after evaluating all the comments, a sub-committee will submit its final report to the biotech regulator Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC). "A total of 759 comments were received from various stakeholders on the Assessment of Food and Environmental Safety (AFES) report on environmental release of Genetically Engineered Mustard, during the consultation period (till 5.30 PM on October 5) "All the comments received by the GEAC Secretariat have been sent to the Sub-Committee for further examination.
After evaluating all the comments, the Sub-Committee has been requested to submit their report to GEAC," an official statement today said. 29 people from different parts of the country, including Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha came personally to review the dossier which was made available at the Ministry. These included researchers and farmers who studied the detailed dossier and gave comments, the statement added. The report submitted by the Sub-Committee was evaluated by GEAC in its 130th meeting held in August and approved for posting it on the Ministry's website for a period of 30 days for wider consultation. The deadline for that came to an end yesterday. The GEAC had constituted a sub-committee to review the technical details and dossier related to environmental release of Genetically Engineered (GE) Mustard (Brassica juncea) hybrid DMH-11 and use of parental events (varuna bn 3.6 and EH2 mod bs 2.99) for development of new generation hybrids submitted by the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP), University of Delhi South Campus (UDSC). This comes after several organisations wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday urging him to stop the approval for the hybrid product. The Environment Ministry had yesterday clarified that it will not extend the deadline for receiving public comments. Kisan Ekta wrote a letter to Modi, noting that GM crops are not the solution and demanded denial of approval to GM Mustard, while Coalition for GM Free India alleged the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) ran a "sham" of a public consultation process which shows that it has something to hide on this "unwanted unneeded and unsafe" GM crop.
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