New Delhi, Sep 22 Former Union Health minister Anbumani Ramadoss today sought urgent intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make sure that GM mustard is not approved by the country's biotech regulator GEAC.
In a letter to Modi, Ramadoss said that it is apparent that testing for GM mustard, which has received a safety clearance from a technical panel of experts in the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has not been "adequate".
"When Bt brinjal was being debated for approval in India, as the then Union Health Minister, I had ensured that the ministry took a rigorous, pro-people and pro-science stand and I expect the Government to do the same with GM mustard, given that mustard is more widely grown and consumed and in more ways than Brinjal.
"If we want to protect citizens' health and environment, this GM mustard should not be approved at all and I urge you to intervene urgently and make sure that it is not permitted to be grown in India," Ramadoss said in his letter.
GEAC had constituted a sub-committee of scientific experts to examine the biosafety data on GM mustard.
After the committee examined it, the report was placed on the Environment Ministry's website inviting comments from stakeholders within a period of 30 days before the biotech regulator took a decision. The report claimed that the hybrid variety did not pose any risk to biodiversity or agro-ecosystem.
Ramadoss said that he had also written to the Union Health Minister JP Nadda in November last year pointing out that there is absolutely no need for opting for this "unsafe" technology.
"In fact, the very basis on which this GM mustard is being pushed its yield superiority has not even been verified by the regulators," he said.
Ramadoss also said,"there are reports that the one health safety expert put into the technical panel represents a conflict of interest that should not have been there, and is also someone who did not participate in the assessment processes.
"Quite apart from this is the fact that GM mustard underwent very little testing on the health front," he said.