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03 September 2014

Centre to take call on allowing GM crop field trials after SC decision

Written by Jayant Chaudhary

Environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday said the government will take a call on allowing field trials of GM crops only after the Supreme Court gives its decision. The apex court has fixed September 16 as next hearing for the public interest litigation filed in 2005 by activist Aruna Rodrigues and lawyer Prashant Bhushan, demanding a ban on import and sowing of GM crops in India.

This comes after an RSS-backed outfit, following a meeting with Javadekar, recently said the government has put trials of GM crops on hold.Former environment minister Veerappa Moily in the UPA government had approved GM field trials for crops such as rice, maize, wheat and chickpea. Meanwhile, 45 transgenic crops approved by the genetic engineering appraisal committee (GEAC) during UPA rule for field trials await mandatory nod from the state governments concerned, thus delaying commercial introduction of GM crops. However, with states including Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu refusing to give mandatory NOC for GM field trials, it has delayed the process of commercial cultivation of various drought, flood and other stress-tolerant GM crops. Agriculture ministry sources told that only states like Punjab, Andhra Pradesh Haryana and Maharashtra have agreed to provide NOC for GM trials.

News Source : The Financial Express - New Delhi, 3 September 2014

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