Centre junks plan to allow field trials of Bt brinjal, other transgenic crops

Bowing to the pressure of RSS-linked farm outfit Bhartiya Kisan Sangh and heeding to the unwillingness of some states, the Centre has junked its decision of allowing scientific field trials of transgenic crops including indigenously developed Bt brinjal.

The central regulator, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, had last year allowed bio-safety research field trials of two new transgenic varieties of Bt brinjal in eight states —Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and West Bengal— during 2020-23.

The Bhartiya Kisan Sangh and other groups had, however, subsequently submitted as many as seven representations to the Centre and different state governments, urging them not to give ‘No Objection Certificate’ for biosafety field trials of Bt brinjal.

Sharing basic details of these representation in Rajya Sabha, Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar in his written response to a Parliament question on Monday said, “It has been decided that proposals for field trials of GM crops, including Bt brinjal, will not be taken up for consideration in the GEAC without the recommendation of the concerned State/UT government.”

Besides submitting its representations against the scientific field trials of Bt brinjal to the Centre, the BKS had written to Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Tamil Nadu governments. Other NGOs including Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam too requested state governments not to give mandatory NOC for the field trials.

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