New Delhi: With Bt brinjal issue sparking a
controversy, agricultural experts and farmers` leaders Saturday
underlined the need for caution on the rapid introduction of
genetically modified crops and favoured addressing larger
issues like setting up an independent bio-testing facility.
Alleging that the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee
(GEAC) is not competent enough, Suman Sahai, Director, Gene
Campaign, said, "If the regulatory process is as casual as
it is in India, how can the public be confident? There is need
for an independent bio-testing facility in India".
"Genetic engineering tends to break the balance and
equilibrium of nature," she said.
Vijay Krishnan of the All India Kisan Sabha said, "We
are not against genetically modified crops. Production
enhancing techniques are what we are looking for but issues
like bio-safety and human reaction need to be looked into".
Krishnan wondered if GM is the only way forward for a
vast country like India.
Trying to quell the confusion among people on Bt
brinjal, K C Bansal of Indian Agricultural Research Institute
said, "Popular notion that the introduction of GM crops like
Bt brinjal will result in extinction of other varieties of
Brinjal is totally untrue".
"We have to think of the entire gamut of solutions
available to us rather then worrying about a certain variety
like Monsanto," said Satyajit Rath of National institute of
Immunology. Rath also threw his weight behind the proposal to
set up an independent bio-testing facility.