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2-Plants: Scientists told not to tinker with Basmati

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TITLE:  Scientists told not to tinker with Basmati
SOURCE: Business Standard, India
DATE:   May 15, 2003

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Scientists told not to tinker with Basmati

B Mishra, the project director of the Directorate of Rice Research (DRR),
Hyderabad, has called upon rice researchers to exercise self-restraint in
pursuing transgenic research on basmati rices in the country. Basmati
rices, part of the Indian heritage, fetch premium price in domestic and
international markets. In a press release issued here today, Mishra
expressed apprehensions that some researchers were attempting to
jeopardise the national interests by tinkering with the Basmati rice with
biotechnological tools. This was the grave concern expressed by the
Basmati exporters in a meeting with Mishra in the city today. The same
concern was also expressed by the galaxy of rice scientists at a panel
discussion chaired by Dr G Kallo, the deputy director-general (CS&H) at
Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhinana, during the rcent annual rice
research workshop. Mishra said development of transgenic basmatic rices
would adversely affect their export prospects. In 2001-02, India exported
about nine lakh tonnes of basmati rice, valued at Rs 2000 crore, in
foreign exchange.