GM maize: MP yet to decide on field trials

Contrary to its opposition early this year to genetically modified crops, Madhya Pradesh is now taking its time to decide the fate of field trials of maize cleared recently by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The committee has recently permitted Monsanto to carry out BRL-2 trials and Syngenta to carry out BRL-1 trials in the Directorate of Weed Science Research (DWSR), an Indian Council of Agriculture Research facility, in Jabalpur.

In keeping with the new policy of seeking permission from the respective state governments, where such trials are proposed, Madhya Pradesh was informed and its consent sought by the Centre.

Though MP received the communication more than a couple of months ago, it has chosen not to reply keeping the multinational companies on tenterhooks.

Madhya Pradesh's farmer welfare and agriculture development minister Dr Ramkrishna Kusmaria had written to then Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh in April this year that the state will allow field trials and open release of GM crops until the global debate on the issue was settled.

Following opposition from activists, Monsanto had called off its maize trials (BRL-1) in Jabalpur last year. Deputy Secretary (agriculture) Vijay Pandit said the government had not yet replied to the Centre's letter.

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