GM mustard receives approval for commercial sales amid rising protests

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Representational Image: AFP

New Delhi: A central government-appointed expert committee approved the commercial sale of genetically modified mustard. The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee okayed the recommendations which was put on the backburner in 2016 due to the protests of several organisations of farmers and environmentalists. The approval has been granted for four years on a condition to review and renew biennially.

Now, the union government has to decide over launching GM mustard named ‘Dhara Mustard Hybrid-2’ (DMH) in the market. Meanwhile, the state governments can also resort to action based on their own discretion.

Many environmental organisations have raised opposition against the approval granted for the GM mustards citing that these varieties would adversely affect both farming sector and public health.

GM mustard is the first genetically modified edible crop which obtained approval for trade at a commercial basis. DMH 2 was developed by crossing the GM Indian variety Varuna and Eastern European variety Early Heera.

The expert committee also approved the report submitted by Delhi University vice chancellor Dr Deepak Pental in connection with the commercial availability of GM mustard. The nod of Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crops in Delhi University is crucial for making the GM crops available commercially.

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