New Delhi: The government has ordered a laboratory test of to find out if genetically modified brinjal is fit for preparation of ayurvedic medicines, with a senior official saying its report in next two months could pave the way for commercial release of Bt brinjal.
"Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) under Ministry of Environment and Forest has ordered for lab test to assess compositional analysis to find out if ayurvedic principles are disturbed in Bt brinjal,", the official said.
P Anand Kumar, Principal Scientist, National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology (NRCPB) under Ministry of Agriculture told reporters here that the test is being conducted in National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad.
NIN is India`s premier nutrition research institute working under the aegis of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The lab test report which is expected in next two months would pave the way for commercial release of Bt brinjal, he said.
The NRCPB scientist said the test was ordered to clear apprehensions in a section on whether Bt variety of brinjal would have the same efficacy for preparing ayurvedic medicines as the non-GM.
India had put on hold commercial cultivation of genetically modified brinjal in February 2010 in the backdrop of intense opposition from NGOs and several states.
Kumar said there was no differences about scientific efficacy of GM crops among the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Science and Technology, ICAR and other governmental institutions.
But in view of opposition from a section of activists and NGOs the government has imposed moratorium till a consensus is arrived.
Echoing similar views Vibha Dhawan of TERI and Bharat Char of Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Limited, popularly known as `Mahyco` urged the government to give the go ahead to GM crops at the earliest to address country`s food concerns.
They were expressing their views in an interaction session organised by ABLE-AG (Association of Biotech Led Enterprises-Agriculture Group).
Progressive farmers like Ravinder Singh and Narinder Singh from Punjab and Varinder Sahu of Sirsa in Haryana narrated how adoption of Bt cotton seeds brought a turnaround in their income from cultivation of cotton.
They said top international bodies like WHO have confirmed that there was no adverse effect of GM crops on human health.