As many as 10 state governments in India have decided not to allow the genetically modified brinjal, or the Bt brinjal, in their states, even without waiting for an end to the controversy over whether Bt brinjal should be approved or not.
The technology for the genetically modified version of brinjal is owned by the United States-based firm Monsanto.
The representatives of the 10 states, ruled by different political parties, held a conference held in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala, called by the Kerala government, and described their united stand as “the second war of Indian independence.”
The conference was convened by the Department of Agriculture and the Biodiversity Board of the government of Kerala.
The states, the representatives of which participated in the conference against Bt brinjal, included Mizoram in the far-east, Tamil Nadu, the next-door neighbour of Kerala, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Apart from the representatives of the of the CPM-led coalition government in Kerala, the conference was attended by the Agriculture Minister of the Congress-led government of Andhra Pradesh; ministers from the BJP-led governments of Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh; ministers from the BJP-Akali coalition government of Punjab, the JD(U) government in Bihar, the BJD government in Orissa, as well as ministers from Chhattisgarh and Gujarat.
The participants declared that they “will not rest” until Bt brinjal and all genetically food stuff ‘Quit India.’
All these states, except Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, have officially banned genetically modified food material.
According to V S Vijayan, chairman of the Biodiversity Board of Kerala, the motive of the conference was to send to the Central Government a message of opposition to Bt brinjal.