As I picked upwards the newspapers at the Kolkata airdrome the 24-hour interval subsequently the root National Consultation on Bt brinjal was held at the Bose Institute on January 13, I could feel the discomfort the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) in addition to the seed companionship Mahyco (who are pushing for Bt brinjal) must accept felt.
Every paper had prominantly carried reports of the consultation. The Times of Republic of Republic of India for instance sprang a surprise (normally, TOI downplays such issues) alongside its headline: Thumbs downward to Bt brinjal in addition to had a sub headline: Vociferous Opposition to ‘Poisonous” vegetable inwards Stormy Meeting. I am providing you lot the links for some of the tidings reports below.
At the consultation, I was quite surprised past times the surge of world outcry in addition to anger against Bt brinjal inwards item in addition to the GM engineering scientific discipline inwards general. Speaker subsequently speaker, in addition to that included retired agricultural scientists, entomologists, the farm technocrats association, the veterinarians association, the indian medical association, farmers in addition to others stood up in addition to questioned non solely the flawed regulatory procedure but also the technology.
The Farm Technocrats in addition to the Veterinary Association made a really forceful intervention, fifty-fifty challenging the claims of Mahyco seed companionship (and the DBT) on the extent of pest damage. The farm technocrat representative for illustration said that they beingness involved alongside farmers at the grassroot level, know sure as shooting that the harm past times human foot in addition to shoot borer does non come about 10 per cent on an average. “The claim that nutrient borer damages upto seventy per cent is completely wrong,” he said, adding: “if the insect ready on is sixty to seventy per cent, delight enjoin me why are the farmers in addition to therefore even therefore continuing to cultivate brinjal?”
While nearly 200 people were protesting exterior the venue, within the atmosphere was as charged. At times, the Minister for Environment Forests Jairam Ramesh did lose his cool on a duo of occasions, but I intend to a greater extent than oftentimes than non he handled the consultation quite well. Yes, he did threaten to file a libel illustration against me, but that flare-up needs to be overlooked. Please don’t read also much into that brief episode, as such off-the-cuff remarks do wing only about when you lot are tense.
Unfortunately, as a speaker mentioned: Bt cistron is stress intolerant.
I am inwards fact overwhelmed past times your messages pouring inwards from diverse parts of the country. I am also thankful to the lawyers who accept extended their mitt to me inwards illustration a defamation illustration is slapped against me. Well…well…as I said before at that topographic point is no argue to larn charged up. I accept before been threatened past times ministers inwards Republic of Republic of India in addition to Nepal, and I am quite used to it. In fact, I would similar someday to portion alongside you lot the brisk political developments that followed when a old principal government minister of Himachal Pradesh, the belatedly Mr Ram Lal, threatened to eliminate me. I was in addition to therefore the Shimla Correspondent for Indian Express. But that’s for another day.
Returning dorsum to the Kolkata consultation, I must enjoin you lot that the Mahyco brigade was quite inwards attendance. Among those I could spot were Mr Raju Barwale, in addition to Mr K K Sharma. The GEAC was represented by its chairman, Mr Farooqui, in addition to its fellow member secretary, Ms Rajni Warrior. Besides, I met Mr Tripathi of the Department of Biotechnology in addition to Dr K C Bansal of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute.
Except for Dr Bansal, who is trying to projection himself as the confront for the pro-technology grouping of scientists, none of the others I named spoke.
Interestingly, non many of the industry-sponsored participants took the mike but whenever at that topographic point was a speaker inwards favour of Bt brinjal, you lot could listen a loud applause from the same section of the audience. Nothing wrong. In a democratic society, nosotros must render infinite to divergent views. At the same time, the media was inwards total attendance showing clearly how important in addition to crucial the concluding determination on Bt brinjal is going to live on for the nation.
The national consultations (or world hearings) beingness held are genuinely mandated under Environmental Impact Assessment.
What intrigues me is the agency inwards which the operate of GEAC is being down played. The environmental clearance given past times the GEAC (based on the study of the Expert Committee-II) is what needs to live on revisited. The EC-II study is a scientific scandal, in addition to has to be exposed. We cannot allow the serenity burial of 1 of the biggest scientific scandals inwards the history of Indian science.
People must heighten their vocalism demanding the re-opening of the EC-II report, in addition to at the same fourth dimension demand liability clause to live on included if anything goes incorrect alongside the technology.
Anyway, hither are a duo of tidings study virtually the Kolkata consultations:
Bt brinjal booed at root hearing
Protests score root world consultative coming together on Bt brinjal