Tamil Nadu government not promoting Bt cotton: CM

The Tamil Nadu government will not take any steps to increase the area under genetically modified (Bt) cotton in the state, chief minister J Jayalalithaa told the state Assembly today.

The chief minister made a 'suo motu' statement to allay fears among members of the state assembly over the bad effects of Bt cotton. Some of the members had expressed concerns over the expansion of Bt cotton crop.

The state budget presented on 4 August had also proposed various measures, including the adoption of modern technologies, to enhance agricultural production.

The budget had referred to new paddy varieties, sustainable initiatives in sugarcane, precision farming and promotion of Bt cotton.

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee of the central government had approved Bt cotton for cultivation in 2002 and it widely grown in several states, including Tamil Nadu.

These seeds, distributed by private sector companies, are bought by farmers hoping to reap higher profits.

However, several and members of state legislature have voiced apprehensions over the uncontrolled use of these seeds and had made representation to the government authorities.

They also allege that the genetically modified cotton crop does not often result in higher returns.