The government has decided that no trials of genetically modified crops will be allowed without the consent of the panchayat or the gram sabha where the tests are to be conducted. The decision, taken last week and communicated to the state governments this week, comes after recent revolts by farmers against GM trails.
In November, the Chhattisgarh government had alleged that a multi-national GM seeds manufacturing company had conducted trials near Raipur without informing it. Government officials destroyed the field in the presence of the state agriculture minister. There were similar protests in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) of the ministry also decided that no approval for field trials would be issued unless companies specify the location where they plan to conduct the trials.
The GEAC also decided to issue show-cause notices to companies under the Environment Protection Act for violating field trail regulations. Members of the committee said that seed companies had failed to provide 'satisfactory information' to the locals before conducting the trials.
The GEAC has also asked the companies to isolate trial fields to prevent any contamination and plant non-transgenic rice around the experimental crop to act as pollen trapper to nullify chances of contamination.