`People`s nod to guide Bt Brinjal decision`

Last Updated: Monday, February 8, 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.

PTI



First Published: Monday, February 8, 2010 - 19:16

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