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Ramesh loses cool as Bt Brinjal generates heat

Press Trust of India  |  Bangalore 

Chaos, anger, repartees and some scientific reasoning marked the seventh public hearing on Bt Brinjal here today with Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh facing attacks from groups supporting and opposing the crop variety, prompting him to hit back at them.

The minister, at the receiving end with NGOS, farmers, doctors and scientists making out a case for and against commercialisation of Bt Brinjal, countered some detractors, shouting "I will not listen to you".

The three-and-half-hour debate saw the minister lose his cool when he was accused by one of the participants of being an "agent" of biotech firm Monsanto.

"I am not a Monsanto agent", a livid Ramesh snapped. "You need help", he said, apparently indicating that the participant was mentally unsound.

As the debate here saw decibel levels rise, the Minister tried to use his authority to bring in some discipline and some time turned to humour to calm down an agitated voice.

"This not the Parliament", he told a participant who tried to yell to be heard above the din and spoke out of turn.

"They must stop telecasting parliamentary proceedings... This is highly infectious," Ramesh said even as the participants yelled to have their voices heard.

To an allegation that he was in the loop of the pro-GM lobby and a gazette notification proved it, he yelled, "I will not tolerate wild allegations". An angry Ramesh made frantic calls to his department to have some clarity on the notification.

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First Published: Sat, February 06 2010. 16:11 IST