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Mah sets up SIT to probe illegal production of BT cotton seeds

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

The government has set up a special investigation team (SIT) to investigate the illegal production and sale of seeds, which contain unapproved genes, in the state.

will head the SIT, while Amravati divisional joint director will assist him, a Government Resolution (GR) issued yesterday said.

Both of them can appoint more members in the SIT as per requirement, it said.

"The Appraisal Committee of the has so far not given permission for the production of seeds with herbicide tolerant transgenic gene," the GR said.

On November 17, 2017, the had written a letter to the Centre seeking a CBI probe into the issue. The state had then said that the production of seeds with unapproved genes is taking place in several states.

"The Centre, on October 13 last year, had set up a headed by Dr K Veluthambi and the inspection is going on," the GR said.

Transgenic herbicide/glyphosate tolerant trait genes are used by several BT cotton seed production companies, hence an SIT is being formed to probe into this matter, it added.

"The SIT is expected to probe the involvement of seed producing companies having original seeds of Mahyco Biotech (India) Pvt Ltd, Holdings Pvt Ltd and Ltd having seeds with 'herbicide tolerant transgenic gene'.

"The other seed companies, their role in production and distribution of seeds with unapproved genes will also be probed by the SIT," the GR said.

The three companies make to the seed production companies, who in turn produce the BT seeds, package and distribute them across the country, a senior state officer said.

The GR also mentioned that Mahyco-Monsanto was carrying out some field trials in under the observations of Appraisal Committee and Central Institute of Cotton Research, between 2008 and 2010.

But, the same company had withdrawn its proposal to carry out commercial production of the seeds at the end of its trials.

"Despite that, several companies were found producing BT cotton seeds with these unapproved genes, which is a violation of Environment Protection Act, 1986," the GR said.

The had lodged a police complaint on October 25 and 26 last year at Savner in Narkhed tehsil of district over these violations, the GR said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 08 2018. 17:30 IST