Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) Kisan Kheth Mazdoor Congress has said that States should be given power to decide on commercial release for any GM crops as crop production and variety adaptability were location-specific and agriculture were State subject.

Chairman of Kisan Kheth Mazdoor Congress M. Kodanda Reddy said the State Agricultural Universities should be empowered to evaluate and assess scientific aspects of GM crops and accordingly decide whether to permit them or not.

‘Fix trait value'

In a press release issued here on Thursday, Mr. Reddy wanted the government to immediately fix trait value of Bt Cotton at Rs. 40 per packet of Bt cotton seeds (either BG 1 or 2) as per the Para 60 and 75 of MRTP Commission order of May 2006.

He said the Government should not increase Bt cotton seed price further.

He opined that the MRP of Bt cotton should be brought down from Rs. 650 per packet (BG 1) to Rs. 620 per packet in view of reducing trait value from Rs. 150 to Rs. 40.

Observations challenged

Mr. Kodanda Reddy took exception to the observations made by Anand Kumar, Director of National Biotechnology Research Centre, on the Bt crop issue.

He ridiculed Dr. Anand's observation that Bt was god/nature's gift wondering how it could now be owned by Monsanto.

He objected to the scientist's remarks against farmers and those who raised doubts over health and environmental aspects of Bt brinjal.

He noted that Dr. Anand's support for promotion of MNC developed Bt crop hybrids amidst a huge apprehensions raised by scientists and farmers was nothing but challenging the Union government's decision to ban release of Bt brinjal.

Mr. Reddy opined that Dr. Anand should suggest a strong public sector research domestic seed industry partnership like China to develop and share technologies in order to give competition to MNCs.