Dr Deepak Pental, professor of genetics and ex vice chancellor, Delhi University
In a recent interaction with the BioSpectrum, Dr Deepak Pental, professor, department of genetics, University of Delhi, opined that Indian politics has overtaken the longterm interests of Indian scientific as well as farming community. He explained, "It will be downright foolish to ignore how things have progressed even in Bangaldesh vis a vis Bt brinjal. We keep on typing knots and untying them will take a lot of time. So far we have not released anything in proper fashion. Even those who demand ban on all GM crops for the future, are not talking about BT cotton. It will be unfortunate that if Bt brinjal comes in under clandestine circumstances and finally illegal cultivation without proper segregation happens, making the government to accept the facts later."
In a rather very straightforward way, Dr Pental asked few hard hitting questions to those who oppose GM. "Why is Genetic Engineering Apprisal Commitee (GEAC) not being allowed to function? Afterall nobody is suggesting that government is not the final authority. But in this case, when there are three ministries and beaurucrats on one side and one ministry on the other side, this is enough to point towards the passage of BRAI bill,"he mentioned and went on asking, "Who would like to work in this area when we first fund it and then don't care enough later? How long will we ignore scientists and science for politics? We don't work as team and that has resulted in so much choas."
Dr Pental recalls that during the times of green revolution even Dr Swaminathan was accused of biopiracy by certain sections of society but the unrelenting attitude of policymakers made it happen. "Even some ideologies were bitterly opposed as they didn't want the alleivation of hunger, fearing the loss of poverty will bring their end. Same spirit continues within section of them even today without having anything to do with technical understanding of subject or looking at the bigger picture", he concluded.