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Prashant Bhushan writes to Env Min over Bt Brinjal cultivation

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

has urged the to destroy brinjal, a genetically modified crop, planted in farms and prosecute those responsible behind its illegal cultivation.

In a letter to Minister Harsh Vardhan, alleged that the ministry's 2010 moratorium on the commercial planting of brinjal was being flouted.

"l am constrained to say that we are looking at a collective failure of our regulatory bodies and connected institutions, with the final blame falling squarely on the apex regulator, the GEAC (Appraisal Committee) in your ministry, the body solely responsible for all environmental releases of GMOs," he said in the letter.

"The illegal planting of Brinjal demonstrates the vacuum that exists in the oversight of GMOs in lndia," added.

He sought that the crop be uprooted and destroyed in farms and an exercise be undertaken for testing of seeds.

"Uproot and destroy planted Bt brinjal in farms and seedlings in nurseries. Undertake a scaled-up exercise of testing of seeds and plantings for which a well laid out and coordinated plan is required with members of as part of a joint advisory and monitoring committee," the letter stated.

"Ascertain the supply chain -- from seed developers to intermediaries -- who are involved/what is the origin of the seed supply? Stiff penalties, including criminal prosecution, are required," it read.

The letter also gave the test report of a private lab in Ahmedabad which says brinjal samples collected from a farm in Haryana's Fatehabad have tested positive for genetically modified traits.

Recently, farm activists demanded immediate action against officials responsible for spreading seeds of Bt brinjal and its genetically modified (GM) variants in the country.

Bt brinjal farming was banned in in 2010 after it was recognised as hazardous to health and

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

First Published: Thu, May 16 2019. 21:21 IST