Orissa opposes introduction of Bt Brinjal in the state


Bhubaneswar : The Orissa government opposes the introduction of Bt Brinjal and release of the genetically modified seeds to farmers, its agriculture minister said Wednesday, three days before the central environment ministry is scheduled to hold a public consultation on the subject here.

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“We are opposed to the introduction of Bt Brinjal to our farmers. We don’t support it as it is not in the interest of our farmers,” said Orissa agriculture minister Damodar Rout.

“There are already hundred varieties of brinjal seeds available in the state. Once Bt Brinjal is introduced the hundreds of seeds already available will be obsolete and of no use,” he told IANS.

“We are not yet sure of the bad effects of Bt crops which is still a subject of experimentation. Once it is introduced only the multinational will benefit, leaving our farmers sufferers as most of them are poor,” he added.

Public hearings on the Bt Brinjal issue have been organised by the environment ministry in seven cities — Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Nagpur and Chandigarh. The interactions with scientists, agriculture experts, farmers’ organisations, consumer groups and NGOs start in Kolkata Wednesday.

The central government’s Genetic Engineering Approval Committee has given a go ahead to the introduction of BT Brinjal to farmers and the issue is now with the central environment ministry.

Opposing the move the state is also mulling to give a memorandum to Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh to lodge its protest.

“I have already held consultation with my counterparts of Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. We are planning to give a memorandum to the minister,” Rout added.

Bt Brinjal is a genetically modified version of the vegetable.