Indians to decide use of GM crops: Jairam Ramesh

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Coimbatore, Feb 19 (ANI): Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said here on Thursday that BT brinjal needs to be accepted by Indian scientists, farmers and political leaders before it is adopted in the country.

He said this in his inaugural address at the two-day 'Workshop of Tree Cultivation for Dryland Farming'.

"Of late, newspapers have been accusing me of being anti-science. But I am not against science, in fact, I am its strong supporter," said Ramesh.

"I have done what I had to do. As the Minister of Environment and Forests, I have taken a decision based on the information that was available to me. I have consulted state governments; I had seven public consultations involving about 8000 people in different parts of the country. I have talked to about 60 scientists, both in India and abroad. I have on my website 1000 pages that I have made public both for Bt brinjal and against Bt brinjal. So I have been very fair to everybody," noted Jairam Ramesh.

Ramesh also announced that cloned eucalyptus and casherina trees, which are used as fuel wood, would be planted in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Earlier this month, Ramesh blocked the release of Bt Brinjal, saying that until more research is done to remove doubts surrounding the consumption of GM foods, there was not enough public trust to support the introduction of such crops.

Talking about the diminishing tiger population in India, Ramesh observed that poaching is not the only threat to tigers, numbers are dwindling due a lack of balance between India's burgeoning population and development and much needed conservation efforts.

"Let me tell you, they are under extreme threat and there is a crime syndicate operating in India, there is a real estate syndicate operating in India, there's a mining syndicate operating in India, which wants to finish off all the tigers," Ramesh added. (ANI)

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