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Times of India
"India's central biotech regulator, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), on Thursday cleared the genetically modified (GM) Mustard for commercial cultivation and recommended its approval to the environment ministry.
The fate of this transgenic variety of oil-seed will now be in the hands of the MoS environment Anil Madhav Dave who may either accept it, reject it or sit over the file till the Supreme Court takes its call on a pending application on the matter.
The GM mustard, developed by a Delhi University institution, is only the second food crop which got its clearance from the central regulator. The GEAC had earlier in 2010 cleared the Bt Brinjal but the decision was not accepted by then environment minister Jairam Ramesh. Currently, only Bt Cotton - a non-food GM crop - is commercially cultivated in the country."
"Pental, ex-vice chancellor of the Delhi University and a well-known genetics scientist, had filed the application for commercial release of the GM Mustard in December 2015. The GEAC had subsequently set up a sub-committee to examine the safety aspect of the use of transgenic variety of the mustard. The sub-committee had last year given its safety clearance while noting that the GM Mustard is safe for human consumption and environment.
Decision of the GEAC was, however, vehemently opposed by environmentalists, anti-GM groups and even the RSS-linked economic policy think-tank Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM). Reacting to the development, the SJM's national co-convenor Ashwani Mahajan told TOI that the decision has no meaning at all when the matter is still pending in the Supreme Court. "We will write against the GEAC's move to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the environment minister Anil Madhav Dave, requesting them to reject the recommendation of the GEAC", said Mahajan." - Vishwa Mohan 12/5
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