`People`s nod to guide Bt Brinjal decision`
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Last Updated: Monday, February 08, 2010, 19:16
Kochi: With barely two days left for his ministry to take a final call on commercialisation of Bt Brinjal, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Monday said the decision would reflect "people's general sentiment".

"I have to be sensitive to the public opinion, be responsible to science. I have to look at the interest of consumers, producers and think of conservation of bio-diversity and yet think of the need to reduce the use of pesticides," Ramesh told reporters here.

"It is not easy to make a decision and I do not expect anybody to be happy with what I will decide," he said.

But it is a decision that will reflect the "general sentiment" of the people, the minister, who on February 6 concluded the nation-wide consultations on the genetically modified crop in Bangalore, said.

To a suggestion that his statements on Bt Brinjal reflected double standards, Ramesh shot back saying even before he had announced his decision, he was being accused of "double standards".

"Please wait for my decision," he said.

The country's bio-tech regulator Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) had given its nod in October last for commercial release of Bt Brinjal.

However, Ramesh decided to hold public hearings after a member of GEAC Pushpa Bhargava alleged all necessary tests were not carried out before the decision was taken.

The Bangalore consultations, the seventh and last in the series, were marked by heated exchanges, chaos and angry retorts between the minister and participants.

At the end of the consultations, Ramesh said he had received letters from Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh opposing Bt Brinjal and the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary had orally communicated similar view.


First Published: Monday, February 08, 2010, 19:16

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