Prime Minister to discuss Bt-brinjal issue

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New Delhi, Feb 24 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Wednesday will meet Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Minister of State for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan and Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh to discuss the issue of Bt-brinjal.

Today's meeting has been called taking into account the concerns raised by Pawar and Chavan on the moratorium of Bt-brinjal announced by the Environment minister after public consultations.

It is reported that Pawar in a letter to Dr Singh wanted clarification on the authority responsible for granting final clearance to genetically modified crops. He said in his letter that the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee has approved the commercial cultivation of Bt-Brinjal.

Chavan said Bt-Brinjal is safe, but has not directly opposed the moratorium saying that he was not opposed to more tests.

Ramesh had on February 9 gave the thumbs down to the commercialisation of Bt Brinjal and imposed a moratorium on it till further study.

Ramesh had earlier said he did not expect anybody to be happy with the keenly awaited decision, even as Karnataka joined Uttarakhand in deciding to ban Bt Brinjal without waiting for the Centre to take a call on commercialisation of the genetically modified crop.

Farmers, NGO's and members of various organisations had unanimously condemned the move to introduce Bt Brinjal, carrying placards with slogans like "we don't need Bt Brinjal."

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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