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States say no, GM trials hit hurdle

With many states saying no to genetically modified (GM) crops, making the biotechnology industry hit a roadblock, the country's biotechnology regulator has decided to convince them about its benefits. Chetan Chauhan reports.

delhi Updated: Apr 15, 2012 23:31 IST
Chetan Chauhan

With many states saying no to genetically modified (GM) crops, making the biotechnology industry hit a roadblock, the country's biotechnology regulator has decided to convince them about its benefits.

The latest in the list of states, which have refused to allow field trials of GM crops, is the Congress-ruled Rajasthan.

“No trials of GM crops should be conducted in the state until a final decision is taken in this matter,” said an order issued by the state government. “The government, after considering its various aspects, has decided to wait until a national consensus is evolved.”

Most of the bigger states in India, including Bihar, Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, have refused to give a no-objection certificate for field trials.

Now, bio-technology companies have not been left with many viable options to conduct field trials for GM crops, such as tomato, cabbage and maize. The only ones left are Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.

In wake of this development, bio-tech regulator Genetically Engineered Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has decided to write to state governments about the importance of GM crops and the need to consider every case, instead of imposing a blanket ban.

The committee said the trials are conducted in a secure place, and there is minimal possibility of contamination. Also, it has professed willingness to let state government officials monitor the trials.