Group urges Centre to lift moratorium on Bt brinjal

Written by Sandip Das | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 30 2010, 04:45am hrs
Bangalore-based Foundation of Biotechnology Awareness and Education (FBAE) has asked the government to lift the indefinite moratorium imposed on commercial introduction of Bt brinjal in the country by the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF).

It stated that the indefinite moratorium has created a 'regulatory uncertainty' on the development of all genetically engineered crops which are at the various stages of development in the country.

Stating that the environment ministry is strongly 'influenced' by those opposing the agricultural biotechnology, the foundation in its petition to the government said as there has been no palpable, effective and time bound effort to resolve the uncertainties cause by the moratorium, an urgent and definitive action for government is needed to rescue Indian agricultural biotechnology from the present impasse.

With such uncertaintyrevailing about GM crops, the companies wanting to invest in bio technology in agricultural sector would be hesitant to do so, Seetharam Annadana, Technology Lead, Syngenta India, told FE

While putting an indefinite halt on commercial launch of first genetically modified food crop in the country in Feburary 2010, environment minister Jairam Ramesh had said there is no clear consensus within the scientific community itself, when there is so much opposition from the state governments, civil society organizations and eminent scientists have raised many serious questions not been answered satisfactorily.

Ramesh had directed the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) to take up follow up action on the matter of further studies and tests with appropriate protocols and in appropriate laboratories.

GEAC should consult eminent scientists for drawing up a fresh protocol for specific tests that will have to be conducted in order to generate public confidence, Ramesh had said. Critques of Bt brinjal argue that if permitted it would destroy the bio diversity of the country and would open the flood gates for several other GM food crops that are under various stages of field trials.