INDIA: Thirty nine more Bt cotton hybrids can be commercially cultivated

NEW DELHI: More Bt cotton hybrids are approved for commercial cultivation by the GEAC ( The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee ).

The GEAC has approved 39 new Bt cotton hybrids for commercial cultivation in south India and 9 new Bt cotton hybrids for commercial cultivation in Central India in the current season.

Earlier the apex court had banned the commercial cultivation of Bt cotton for some scientific and animal welfare reasons.

The apex court has partially modified its earlier ban on genetically manufactured crop trials.

The GEAC has set up a scientific investigation committee which is headed by SPS Ahlawat, the director of Indian Veterinary Research Institute, to examine reports received from NGOs regarding sheep mortality in Warangal and Adilabad districts of Andhra Pradesh due to consumption of Bt cotton leaves.

The panel consists of K Somasekhar Reddy, associate dean in the College of Veterinary, Hyderabad, Y Thirupathaiah, joint director of animal husbandry in the Andhra Pradesh government, Chenga Reddy of Cotton Research Station, Guntur and KK Tripathi, advisor in the department of biotechnology.

Since the apex court order of May 9, partially modifying its earlier ban order on GM crop trials, the GEAC has gone upbeat in making a spate of approvals of Bt cotton for commercial cultivation.

Andhra Pradesh directorate of animal husbandry has submitted a report to the GEAC for presence of possible toxins in Bt cottom and their ill effect on animals. The Committee set up by GEAC will examine the report received from AP directorate of animal husbandry.

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Added: June 15, 2007 Source: Agencies
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