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Bt-Brinjal Commercial Cultivation Put On Hold

NEW DELHI | FEB 09, 2010


Some of the reactions to today's announcement of a moratorium:
Sunita Narain, Director, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE): We are not against the use of genetically modified technology to improve crop yields. But we definitely oppose the introduction of Bt-Brinjal. We believe India needs stringent system of testing, regulating and labelling all genetically modified foods before these can be introduced here. It is a question of public health which cannot be compromised at any cost," said Kushal Yadav, head of CSE's food safety and toxins unit.

Uday Singh, National Seed Association of India (NSAI): "We believe in government of India and the regulatory system of the government. Let them take a decision. I am not in favour of politicising it. In case there are still some doubt over Bt Brijnal and if some people still feel that scientific data is not clear, the Environment Minister can always ask for more trials. But it's science which should prevail."

M S Swaminathan, Agricultural scientist and father of the green revolution: I think it is a wise decision. It is appropriate to look at the problems carefully. The regulatory system has to be credible, transparent and effective. The environment minister would like to utilise the time period for studies and tests which should be completely shared with the public. The government should handle the issue on a case by case basis and not generalise. They have some benefits also. How we use it is the issue.

Kavita Kurunganti, GM Free India: Ramesh has to look into other GM crops also like rice. There is a need to address the issue in a holistic manner.

P M Bhargava, Supreme Court nominee on the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee: There should be an institutional set-up for the tests to be carried out on Bt brinjal. The tests should be carried out on animals and in some cases, even monkeys. I have personally never opposed Bt brinjal but tests have to be carried out for long-term health effects.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, BJP: "This is a sensitive issue having long-term implications for farmers, consumers, food security and also health. No action should be taken that gives the impression that it has been done under pressure of multinationals. Three BJP-ruled states - Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Karnataka - have already expressed their opposition to its cultivation. USA Embassy: Science and Technology Adviser Nina Fedoroff was not here to push for introduction of BT Brinjal in India. Her visit has no connection to India's consideration of Bt Brinjal.

T M Manjunath, former head of city-based Monsanto Research Centre: I am not surprised. The agitation against Bt Brinjal was so demonstrative, well-orchestrated, loud and united as compared to lackluster and hesitant efforts by most of the protagonists- scientists and the industry Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD, Biocon : It is a "big setback" for biotechnology saying that investment in agri-biotech research would be adversely impacted