Govt in no hurry to serve Bt brinjal: Jairam Ramesh

Govt in no hurry to serve Bt brinjal: Jairam Ramesh

The 105 page scientific report – on the basis of which Bt brinjal was declared safe to be released in the environment – has now been put on the ministry’s website inviting public comments till December 31.

In January and February of 2010, Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh will hold a series of consultations with scientists, farmer’s outfits, consumer groups and non-governmental organisations. The final decision will come after taking all points of view into account.

On Wednesday, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee under the environment ministry declared the genetically modified brinjal safe to be cultivated. The panel – the highest authority in the regulatory chain for GM crops – gave its green signals to four hybrids known as MHB-4 Bt, MHB-9 Bt MHB-80 Bt and MHBJ-99 Bt developed by agro-biotech company Mahyco.

Also varieties developed by the University of Agriculture Sciences, Dharwad and Tamil Nadu Agriculture University received GEAC approval, which came after two rounds of exhaustive scientific screening.

Ramesh said, “Strong views have been expressed on the Bt-Brinjal issue, both for and against. My objective is to arrive at careful, considered decision in the public and national interest.” “The decision will be made only after the consultations process is complete and all stakeholders are satisfied that they have been heard to their satisfaction,” he said.

A top Mahyco official told Deccan Herald that the company can approach the states for licensing only after receiving a formal approval letter from the Centre.