Friday, November 13, 2009
BT brinjal clearance ignored dissenters?
Nitin Sethi, TNN 11 November 2009, 02:54am IST
: In what is bound to raise the bar for the government to clear GM brinjal, the appointed observer on the GEAC has written to the environment ministry that his and two other members' dissenting voice was ignored while giving a hasty recommendation for the environmental release of the BT brinjal.
Pushpa M Bhargava, appointed to the GEAC by the apex court after a case in which the clearance process was challenged, has warned that enormous scientific literature was ignored in a haste to clear the first genetically modified food crop in India.The former director of the has pointed out that the 102-page report thick with scientific information was cleared without giving adequate time for its scrutiny. He warns that the committee's report has enormous scientific and technical errors and is inconsistent in parts.
The final report of the GEAC did not contain any dissenting report. It instead read like a unanimous view of all the members of the committee. Bhargava has said that he was in no doubt that the clearance of BT brinjal was pre-planned and the committee was an eye-wash.
Bhargava had suggested the postponement of the meeting for a month and suggested a one- or two-day meeting where other experts would also be called for the review. This suggestion, Bhargava said, was ignored in the haste for granting a clean chit to the proposal. He has warned in his missive to the ministry that allowing the release of BT brinjal would be a major national disaster and would open up a Pandora's box. Elsewhere, Bhargava has pointed out that besides him, two other scientists on board had communicated their strong reservations but were ignored. He pointed out that Ramesh Sonti of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, who is a Bhatnagar Prize winner and member of GEAC, was of the opinion that there were fundamental flaws in the technology being cleared. Bhargava had earlier raised objections to the fact that all crucial and necessary tests had not been carried out. Those that were carried out were either done by the company or in the case where the tests were carried out by accredited labs, the company provided selected samples.
He had also pointed out that Canada, Argentina and .were banned in most parts of the world and were predominant only in the US,