Sunday, February 10, 2008

Supreme Court's guidelines on GM crops have been overlooked

Years of genetically-modified crops finding their way out of field trials and into the average Indian's diet may seem far-fetched to some. But for a few, they are valid and their realisation seems imminent as the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has approved new field trials of genetically modified crops in violation of a ban imposed by the Supreme Court in 2005. In the GEAC's 78th meeting on May 22, 2007, field trials of GMmustard, large scale (pre-commercial) trials of Bt Brinjal and stacked genes of Bt Okra (bhindi) were approved. In another meeting on August 8, 2007, the GEAC gave the go-ahead to field trials of truncated synthetic Cry IAC rice. These were not in the original list of 24 items covering 91field trials approved by the GEAC in the intervening period of May 2 to September 22, 2006. Tehelka is in possession of the list of recent GEAC approvals and some of these approvals are of field trials to be conducted by Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company Ltd (Mahyco).

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