India: Health minister assures NGOs of guarded approach to Bt brinjal Print E-mail
 Saturday 17 June 2006

NGOs oppose Bt-brinjal

From Kalyan Ray DH News Service New Delhi:
The possible entry of genetically modified brinjal in India as the first GM food crop is unlikely to be a smooth affair, as non-governmental organizations have started hectic lobbying against the transgenic brinjal at the ministerial level.

Representatives of Greenpeace on Friday met the Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar who had assured the activists that their concerns would be taken into consideration.

However, Mr Pawar has declined to influence the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), the final authority to decide if permission for large scale field trial and seed production can be given to Bt brinjal, developed by Mahyco-Monsanto, the same company that had brought Bt cotton in India about five years ago. On Wednesday, representatives of 20 NGOs met the Union Health Minister Dr Anbumani Ramadoss on to brief him on the possible ill-effects of Bt-brinjal, which if cleared would be the first transgenic food crop in India. The minister, claimed the NGOs, had assured a guarded approach from the government. The NGOs are now trying to meet the Union Environment Minister A Raja.