‘No NGO pressure for moratorium on Bt Brinjal'

Jairam Ramesh  

Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh on Sunday said no NGO influenced his decision to put a moratorium on Bt Brinjal, a statement that comes against the backdrop of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh raising questions about the role of foreign funded NGOs in blocking use of genetic engineering.

Dr. Singh has said some NGOs based in the United States and Scandinavian countries were not “fully appreciative” of the development challenges that India faced.

“Green Peace, a foreign funded NGO, accused me of propagating the line of Monsanto during a public hearing in Bangalore. So on Bt Brinjal, since I was directly involved, I can confidently say no NGO influenced my views,” Mr.Ramesh, who is on a three-day visit to Kerala, told reporters here.

He said his position on Bt Brinjal was determined by the positions of the State governments, the lack of consensus among the scientific community, the fact that the tests were not completed and that there was no independent professional mechanism to instil confidence among the people. “I did not ban Bt Brinjal. I decided to put a moratorium. Let's fulfil all these four conditions and then revisit the whole issue,” he said.

His remarks came in response to a question on allegations that some NGOs based in Scandinavian countries funded the protests against Bt Brinjal. Mr. Ramesh said as Environment Minister he had enforced the moratorium on Bt Brinjal on February 9, 2010 after going through a seven-month process of public consultation. He said consultations were held with scientists, NGOs, civil society organisations and farmer organisations, in which around 8,000 people participated.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 2:38:23 PM |

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