Tag Archives: Jairam Ramesh

Bt Brinjal Beaten Back

After nationwide protests against Bt Brinjal (eggplant), BBC reports that India does the right thing:
India has deferred the commercial cultivation of what would have been its first genetically modified (GM) vegetable crop due to safety concerns.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said more studies were needed to ensure genetically modified aubergines were safe for consumers and the environment.

I hope those opposed to Bt brinjal don’t think that’s the end of the story; it will be back. But at least for now they’ve won.

Hm, I wonder if their approach would work for something else, such as bioengineered eucalyptus in the U.S. southeast? There are parallels: lack of serious studies of health effects and lack of demonstration of containment. Can Americans do what Indians just did?

India Against Bt Eggplant

What does it take to turn a country against patented crops with adverse side-effects? In India, the eggplant may be the last straw. Day before yesterday saw Wide and vociferous protests against this genetically modified Bt brinjal:
From Gopal Ethiraj, Chennai
Chennai, 01 February (Asiantribune.com):

Mr. Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Environment and Forests, on Sunday had to face angry protests of farmers in Hyderabad over a move to produce the genetically modified Bt brinjal in the country. Protests and demonstrations were also held in New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday and Sunday.

He had gone there as part of public consultations on Bt brinjal. Consultations are being held in Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Nagpur, Ahmedabad and Chandigarh.

The Minister, however, said a final decision on the issue would be taken in 10 days after consultations with all concerned. The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) had last year given its nod for commercial release of Bt Brinjal and Ramesh had promised additional consultations with farmers’ groups, NGOs, scientists and other stakeholders before the release of Bt brinjal.

Demanding earlier that the government reverse its decision, farmers, scientists and NGOs staged angry demonstrations in Hyderabad and disrupted a public hearing organised by the ministry. The protestors did not allow the Minister to speak at the public consultation held at the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA) in Hyderabad.

The protestors drew on the strategy and the remembrance day of the man who drove the world’s largest empire out of India:

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