Genetic engineering okay, but safety first: Jairam Ramesh | india | Hindustan Times
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Genetic engineering okay, but safety first: Jairam Ramesh

india Updated: Jan 18, 2010 21:58 IST

India needs food security due to its growing population, but the impact of genetically modified crops on human health and bio safety cannot be compromised, Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said on Monday.

Jairam Ramesh said he had received letters from three states, which account for 60 per cent of brinjal production in the country, saying they were not in favour of Bt Brinjal.

"They have clearly said they were not keen on introducing the Bt Brinjal (genetically-modified version of the vegetable)," the minister told reporters.

"After West Bengal and Bihar, it is now Orissa opposing the Bt Brinjal," Ramesh said. He was speaking at the 10th Editors' Conference on social sector issues.

The opposition from the three states comes as the minister is holding countrywide public consultation on the safety of the Bt Brinjal, the commercial release of which was recently approved by bio-tech regulator Genetically Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).

The minister said with its growing population, India needed food security.

"In another 30-35 years, we may add another 50 crore to our population. We may have to go with genetic engineering, but safety comes first. No compromise on that," he said.

West Bengal tops the list of brinjal produce with 30 per cent of the country's total production, followed by Orissa 20 per cent, and Bihar 11 per cent.