NEW DELHI: Ten years after imposing a moratorium on commercial release of genetically modified Bt Brinjal, the Centre has now allowed
research field trials of two new transgenic varieties of indigenously developed Bt Brinjal in eight states during 2020-23, reports Vishwa Mohan.
The states are MP, Karnataka, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and West Bengal. Biosafety safety report of GM crops’ field trials is a mandatory requirement for applying for commercial release in future.
The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) — a central regulator which allowed confined field trials of new varieties of Bt Brinjal — has, however, asked the applicant to begin it only after taking no-objection certificate (NOC) from concerned states and confirmation of availability of isolated stretch of land for this purpose.
These indigenous transgenic varieties of brinjal hybrids - namely Janak and BSS-793, containing Bt Cry1Fa1 gene (Event 142) - are developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s (ICAR) National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology (NRCPB).
After taking permission from the states, the applicant - Beejsheetal Research Private Limited, Jalna — will have to provide the name of the lead scientist responsible for each trial to the central regulator. “The findings of the results may also be shared with State
Boards and local panchayat biodiversity management committees,” said the GEAC’s order.
Opposing the GEAC’s order, the RSS-linked farmers’ body,
Bharatiya Kisan Sangh
(BKS), has written to chief ministers of concerned states, requesting them not to give NOC for biosafety research field trials of two transgenic Bt Brinjal varieties.