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Maharashtra Permits Field Trial for 5 GM Crops
Feb 05, 2015

The Maharashtra government has given NOC (no objection certificate) for field trial of five Genetically Modified (GM) crops (brinjal, maize, rice, chickpea and cotton) in the state. Since June 2011, it has been made mandatory for companies to obtain NOC from the state governments where they want to conduct field tests.

  • The Committee headed by Anil Kakodkar (former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission) had given clearance for field test of these five GM crops, barring rubber.

  • The state government has approved field trial of BT rice and two other rice varieties which are drought tolerant and has nitrogen use efficiency.

  • Maharasthra is focusing on allowing those GM crops that address the problem of insecticides, weedicide and diseases in crops like rice, cotton, soyabean, groundnut, pigeonpea, brinjal, chilli and others.

  • With this decision, Maharashtra has become the fourth state after Punjab, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh to approve open field trials in GM crops.

  • Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Haryana are among those states who have denied permissions for such field trials, apart from Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

  • Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, for instance, refused to grant NOCs for bio-safety research trials of a GM hybrid mustard, developed by scientists led by former Delhi University vice chancellor Deepak Pental, and Bt chana developed by Assam Agricultural University/Sungro Seed.

  • Confined trials are typically carried out in small plots of one hectare or less, and are meant primarily to collect data on the potential bio-safety impact of the GM crop lines.

The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee under the previous UPA Environment Ministry had permitted field trials in the above transgenics. But it had inserted a condition requiring separate NOCs from states for such trials.

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