Environment Minister draws fire from groups over BT Brinjal cultivation

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Ahmedabad, Jan 20 (ANI): Environmental activists opposing the commercial cultivation of BT Brinjal raised slogans against Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh here on Tuesday.

Ramesh was in Ahmedabad to attend a meeting of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), the regulatory body for approving genetically modified crops.rotestors were upset at the central government's endorsement of commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) BT brinjal.

"We are protesting the BT brinjal because we have 2,500 varieties of brinjals in our country. We produce these in abundance and they are sold for less than rupees two then where is the need to bring in BT brinjals? To add to that, its seeds are poisonous and dangerous to human body," complained Lakshman Singh Munia, a farmer.

The minister, however, refused to issue any assurance to the protestors.

"Whether to reject, consider or improvise upon the recommendations of GAEC, I will be in position to say after February 20. The consultation process is going on in seven cities," said Ramesh.

BT Brinjal is a transgenic brinjal created by inserting a gene cry1Ac from soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis into brinjal. A US-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation and a Maharashtra-based Indian company market BT Brinjal in India. (ANI)

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