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Ramesh trashes academies' report on Bt brinjal

Last updated on: September 28, 2010 08:41 IST

Ramesh trashes academies' report on Bt brinjal

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Virtually trashing the report by six top academies which favoured "limited release" of genetically modified brinjal, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Monday said it does not give a larger scientific view and focused only on findings of one scientist.

Endorsing views of an advocacy group that alleged that the report was plagiarised, Ramesh said, "I had asked the academics to give the broader scientific view. But it is nothing else but the views of one scientist (Anand Kumar) which I had already known much before the moratorium was placed on the release of the Bt brinjal."

Clearly unhappy over the report which he had sought from the country's leading academic institutes, the minister told PTI, "I do not want the six top science academics to tell me Anand Kumar's view. I already know that."

Ramesh, who had imposed moratorium on release of Bt brinjal on February 9 citing lack of consensus among various stakeholders, said, "I have not heard since then a single state government in the country wanting its revocation.

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Image: Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.
Photographs: Reuters
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Moratorium on Bt brinjal to stay, says Ramesh

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"Even the most-aggressive anti-NGO state in India, Gujarat, did not want Bt brinjal," he added, making it clear that unless their is consensus on the issue in the society and states agree for its release, the moratorium on GM food will continue.

Indian Academy of Sciences, Indian National Academy of Engineering, Indian National Science Academy, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, National Academy of Medical Sciences and National Academy of Sciences (India) were asked by Ramesh and K Kasturirangan, Member, Planning Commission in March to submit a report on GM crops.

"It is appropriate now to release Bt Brinjal for cultivation in specific farmers' fields in identified states," said the report of the six science academies on Bt brinjal which was submitted to the government recently.

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Photographs: Reuters
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Moratorium on Bt brinjal to stay, says Ramesh

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However, levelling allegations of plagiarism against the academies, advocacy group 'Coalition for GM Free India' had said that the report was a biased, political position paper.

"Rather than a rigorous scientific review that it is supposed to be, it is absolutely scandalous that the six top science academies used plagiarised material in their attempt to promote Bt brinjal," said Kavita Kuruganti on behalf of the Coalition.

According to the advocacy group, the academics had heavily relied on an article "Bt Brinjal: A Pioneering Push" in Biotech News - a publication of the Department of Biotechnology written by Kumar, a vocal supporter of Bt brinjal and developer of GM crops himself.


Image: Customers purchase brinjals at a wholesale vegetable market in Mumbai.
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters
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