A series of public hearings will be held from January on the safety of Bt brinjal, the first genetically modified food crop recently cleared for commercial release by the central bio-tech regulator amid strong protests from environmentalists.
The Environment Ministry will call the first public consultation in Kolkata on January 13 while the next hearing will be held in Bhubaneshwar on January 16 and the third in Ahmedabad on January 19.
The fourth public hearing will be held in Hyderabad (January 22), fifth in Bangalore (January 23), sixth in Nagpur (January 27) and seventh in Chandigarh on January 30, a senior environment ministry official said.
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh will personally attend the meetings to be held with scientists, agriculture experts, farmers’ organizations, consumer groups and NGOs, the official said.
In view of a raging controversy over the decision of Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) to allow commercial cultivation of Bt brinjal, Mr. Ramesh had promised to hold consultations with the concerned stakeholders before deciding the fate of the GM food.
It is being promoted by Mahyco along with University of Agriculture Sciences, Dharwad, and Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, Coimbatore.