Sisodia writes to PM against GM crops

New Delhi: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has written to the Prime Minister saying that approving commercial cultivation of Genetically Modified (GM) mustard crops, a proposal under the Centre’s consideration, would “threaten” agriculture, farmers, health and environment.

Sisodia claimed scientists were conducting trials in this regard at Delhi University without Delhi government’s ‘no objection certificate’. This makes the experiments being conducted “illegal”, he said.

“(I) Have come to know from media reports that the Centre is going to approve GM mustards on February 5. An application in this regard is lying with the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) of the Environment Department. If approved, it will emerge as a major threat to our agriculture, farmers, food health and environment,” Siosida wrote in the letter.

Sisodia said the Centre should have engaged the states in a dialogue over the issue.

“According to our Constitution, agriculture, food, and public health come under the state government and GM crops are facing resistance from state governments, top scientists and public. If any decision is taken in this regard without the permission of the state govt, then it will be against the constitution,” the letter said.

Sisodia noted that even a Parliamentary Standing Committee and a technical expert committee of the Supreme Court have already expressed concern over the issue in 2012.

“The reports say that we do not have a mechanism to ensure safety of GM crops.”

Sisodia said that BJP had in its electoral manifesto promised not to permit GM crops. “Then what has happened now that the govt is in a rush to give permission to the same,” he asked.

“I demand that the government make all relevant data and reports public and hold public hearings. We won’t tolerate any interference in what our farmers produce or people eat,” he said.