Illegal cultivation of BT Brinjal in Haryana district

Dr. Sangeeta Soi
Dr. Sangeeta Soi

According to anti-GM activists. Genetically modified (GM) brinjal is being illegally grown in the Fatehabad district of Haryana,  they demanded that the Central and the State regulatory agencies immediately take action to stop the cultivation, investigate the spread of the illegal variety and destroy all such crops, seeds and saplings as dangerous biohazards are entering the food chain. Plant genetics test result of Central government has confirmed the act. The activists warning against a repeat of earlier episodes of illegal spread of GM cotton and soyabean said that Punitive action must be taken against the seed suppliers and the company which developed the GM variety.

India currently allows commercial production of only BT cotton- a non food GM crop

The report has been shared by National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) on Friday. The two samples has been sent on April 29 and result outcome is positive. Brinjal has been genetically modified by inserting a protein gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis to give protection against certain pests. The test has been confirmed positive by confirming cultivation of BT Brinjal in farm at Ratia block in Fatehabad district. The result is Bt Brinjal, which was developed in India by Maharashtra-based seed company Mahyco.

When asked about the reports of illegal cultivation of Bt Brinjal in Haryana, a Mahyco spokesperson said the company could not respond until Friday.

Rajinder Chaudhary, an activist with the Kudarti Kheti Abhiyan in Haryana said that “This is a biohazard contamination, and must be treated seriously,” It was on the verge of becoming India’s first GM food crop, when the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) cleared it for commercialization in 2009, before doubts about the long-term impact on consumer health and plant biodiversity led then-Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh to slap an indefinite moratorium on the crop.

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