In the prevailing arguments and counter arguments on the baingan gaatha, I found the following brief piece in Times of India by Sunita Narain, Director, Centre for Science and Environment, Delhi, invaluable for outlining the critical issues involved – evaluation of risks to health, control over seeds, threat to biodiversity, consumer choice and independence of research.
Jairam Ramesh, the Union minister for environment and forests, has agreed to put Bt brinjal on hold. I believe this is the right and only decision that he could have taken.
The fact is that we are not talking about a new technology of genetic modification here. We are talking about its use in a daily-use vegetable, cooked in our homes. Let us understand that Bt brinjal, if permitted would have been the world’s first genetically modified vegetable. It is therefore completely erroneous to argue that Bt brinjal should be cleared because the world is already growing genetically modified plants and believe these are safe.