Govt may say no to Bt brinjal

Plans to make Ktaka a GM-free state

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa gave a hint to this effect in a meeting with scientists, representatives of non-governmental organisations and Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Yeddyurappa, speaking to press persons prior to the meeting, said the government would take a decision after a detailed debate with all people concerned.

The meeting was convened to discuss the pros and cons of the entry of Bt brinjal into the State. Interestingly, all those who attended the meeting, including senior officers of Horticulture and Agriculture departments expressed their apprehensions about the crop.

Dr Pushpa Bhargava, a noted molecular scientist and member of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), said that the entry of Bt Brinjal would turn out to be a disaster for diversity of brinjals in India, where the crop first originated. He added there was no need for the GM crop in the State as there were many practices developed by agricultural researches that helped avoid chemical pesticides in farming.

Ananth Hegde Ashisar, chairman of Western Ghats Task Force, said that allowing Bt brinjal into the State would attract violation of the Biodiversity Act of the State.
“The Act clearly says that biodiversity of the State should not be disturbed. The GM crop will definitely disturb the native varieties,” he pointed.

Principal Secretary (Agriculture) Muniyappa said the government should be cautious as there had been no scientific studies on the impact of the crop on pregnant women. Dr G K Veeresh, agriculture scientist and former vice chancellor of UAS, said that nobody in the country had actually preferred Bt Brinjal.

Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, working president of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, demanded the government follow the example of Kerala and declare Karnataka a GM-free state.

Representatives of Centre for Sustainable Development in Hyderabad, Bhoomi Sustainable Development Society of Chikmagalur, Sahaja Samruddha of Bangalore attended the meeting.

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