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India to decide on GM

The Indian government will make its final decision on the introduction of genetically modified brinjal this month

India to decide on GM

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The future of genetically modified (GM) brinjal (eggplant) crops in India will be decided on 10 February when Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh hands down his findings on the matter.

The Minister made this announcement at a public hearing held in Hyderabad on 31 January amid angry demonstrations from anti-GM protesters.

Although there was a healthy representation of farmers and scientists in favour of the crop, known as Bt brinjal, they were outweighed by the campaigners against the implementation.

The Hyderabad hearing was the sixth in a series of seven across the country, with the final gathering to take place in Bangalore on 6 February, the Hindu Business Line reported.

Mr Ramesh told demonstrators he was impartial and would listen to both sides of the debate, claiming he was under no pressure from the Prime Minister or the multi-national companies who stand to gain from his decision.

"I will not cancel this meeting. I will listen to you. I am not on either side. I have written to all the Chief Ministers to solicit their opinion on the issue," he said.

Mr Ramesh also said there was a huge difference between allowing GM cotton and GM eggplant.

"The latter is consumed by people and needed intense discussions," he said.

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