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The Indian government has refused to give a go-ahead to commercial cultivation of BT Brinjal, a genetically-modified version of the vegetable that is said to be more resistant to pests
Facing intense opposition from within and outside, the government today refused to give a go-ahead to commercial cultivation of BT Brinjal, a genetically-modified version of the vegetable that is said to be more resistant to pests, reports PTI.
Announcing the cautious approach of the government, environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh said that there was “no clear consensus” among the scientists and stakeholders on giving permission to BT Brinjal and more studies needed to be conducted.
"There is no overriding urgency to introduce it. When the public sentiments have been negative, it is my duty to adopt a cautious, precautionary and principle-based approach," he told a hurriedly-called press conference which was originally scheduled for Wednesday.
"I will not impose a decision till such time independent scientific studies establish safety of the product from long-term view of human health," Mr Ramesh said.
He said it was a difficult decision to take but he had to balance many issues of science, society, producers and consumers.
However, he made it clear that today's decision applied only to BT Brinjal and did not cover the future of genetically-modified crops, be it ladyfinger, cabbage or rice.
Mr Ramesh's decision came after a series of public consultations in seven cities across the country, that often turned acrimonious. A number of state governments, including Congress-ruled Andhra Pradesh, have publicly opposed the introduction of BT Brinjal.