Environment Ministry trashes academies` report on Bt brinjal

Ramesh said report doesn`t give a larger scientific view & focused on findings of a scientist.

New Delhi: Virtually trashing the report
by six top academies which favoured "limited release" of
genetically modified brinjal, Environment Minister Jairam
Ramesh on Monday said it does not give a larger scientific view
and focused only on findings of a scientist.

Endorsing views of an advocacy group that alleged that
the report was plagiarised, Ramesh said, "I had asked the
academics to give the broader scientific view. But it is
nothing else but the views of one scientist (Anand Kumar)
which I had already known much before the moratorium was
placed on the release of the Bt brinjal."

Clearly unhappy over the report which he had sought
from the country`s leading academic institutes, the Minister
told PTI, "I do not want the six top science academics to tell
me Anand Kumar`s view. I already know that."

Ramesh, who had imposed moratorium on release of Bt
brinjal on February 9 citing lack of consensus among various
stakeholders, said, "I have not heard since then a single
state government in the country wanting its revocation.

"Even the most-aggressive anti-NGO state in India,
Gujarat, did not want Bt brinjal," he added, making it clear
that unless their is consensus on the issue in the society and
states agree for its release, the moratorium on GM food will

Indian Academy of Sciences, Indian National Academy
of Engineering, Indian National Science Academy, National
Academy of Agricultural Sciences, National Academy of Medical
Sciences and National Academy of Sciences (India) were asked
by Ramesh and K Kasturirangan, Member, Planning Commission in
March to submit a report on GM crops.

"It is appropriate now to release Bt Brinjal for
cultivation in specific farmers` fields in identified states,"
said the report of the six science academies on Bt brinjal
which was submitted to the Government recently.

However, levelling allegations of plagiarism against
the academies, advocacy group `Coalition for GM Free India`
had said that the report was a biased, political position

"Rather than a rigorous scientific review that it is
supposed to be, it is absolutely scandalous that the six top
science academies used plagiarised material in their attempt
to promote Bt brinjal," said Kavita Kuruganti on behalf of the

According to the advocacy group, the academics had
heavily relied on an article "Bt Brinjal: A Pioneering Push"
in Biotech News - a publication of the Department of
Biotechnology written by Kumar, a vocal supporter of Bt
brinjal and developer of GM crops himself.