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Bt Brinjal, not for now: Astute decision, says Swaminathan
Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai

A day after the environment ministry put a moratorium on Bt brinjal, father of the Indian Green Revolution and Rajya Sabha member, Dr M S Swaminathan, stated that the government's moratorium on commercialisation of Bt brinjal until independent studies established its safety was a wise and appropriate decision.

Swaminathan has often advocated the use of biotechnology to address food shortages in the coming decades.

It was appropriate not to hurry and to look at the problems to the satisfaction of all. The government should utilise the time to put in place a credible, effective and transparent system for the benefit of the country and conduct tests in a manner that had public trust, Dr Swaminathan told the Hindu.

"After all, it is the public who has to consume it, not the government. The risks and benefits should be carefully evaluated," he said.

According to media reports, Jairam Ramesh, the environment minister, had several discussions with agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan before putting a moratorium on Bt brinjal.

Swaminathan had advised Ramesh to assess the chronic effects of the consumption of the brinjal through studies at the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, and the Central Food Technology Research Institute, Mysore.

Further M S Swaminathan Research Foundation is also involved in the development of genetically modified rice that may be able to tolerate salt water.
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