No Approval of GM Mustard Without Wide Consultation & Addressing All Concerns
THE All India Kisan Sabha, in a statement issued on October 5, has noted that the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) and the BJP-led NDA government seem to be in an undue haste to commercially release GM Mustard. This is despite the absence of any credible regulatory mechanism that can conduct long-term tests and ensure bio-safety concerns can be addressed. The data has also not been made public despite repeated efforts and even order from Central Information Commissioner. There have been different claims of conflict of interest as well as questionable claims being made regarding the productivity of the GM Mustard. It is notable that the herbicide tolerant variety will be compatible with Bayer’s herbicide and given the fact that Bayer has recently acquired Monsanto and plans are afoot to take over other agribusinesses too, the move will undoubtedly promote monopoly of Bayer and open gates for unbridled profiteering. The implications of the use of herbicides on health of humans, animals and environment are also a cause for concern. Another concern that has been expressed is regarding the livelihood impact on poor peasants and agricultural workers who earn through the weeding operations. Many states have also come out against the commercial release of GM Mustard. It is relevant to understand the reasons for such a position by states and in a federal system such decisions cannot be imposed without taking states into confidence.
All India Kisan Sabha reiterates that while it is not against scientific innovation, that cannot be at the cost of bio-safety and bio-diversity. AIKS hence calls for wide democratic consultation with all stake-holders and addressing all concerns by placing all information in public domain for scrutiny. Till such time, approval of GM Mustard must be held back.