COIMBATORE: “I am a strong supporter of science. But just because somebody says Bt brinjal is good, we need not run after it. Let our own scientists, farmers and political leaders decide what is good for our country,” said Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh, here on Thursday.
He released eight new cloned varieties of eucalyptus and casuarina, developed by the Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding (IFGTB) here. This was the first time in India that new cloned varieties of tree crops have been developed systematically.
“Of late, newspapers have been accusing me of being anti-science. But I am not against science, in fact, I am its strong supporter,” said Ramesh.
On forestry, Ramesh said his ministry was bringing modern science into forestry.
From this year onwards, every year, the ministry would conduct an Indian Forestry Congress and the first one would be held in Dehradun in December, he said and added: “The second one will be held in Coimbatore.” The minister also urged the farmers to move into agro-forestry. But in order for this to happen, scientists have to develop crop varieties that would grow fast.
Releasing the cloned varieties, Ramesh said these new varieties would be used initially in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The parents of the new clones were from Australia.
Talking of cloning, Ramesh, in a lighter vein, said that the students from India were going to Australia and getting bashed up.
“But we have brought the Australian parents (tree varieties) and produced Indian children (cloned varieties),” he said jocularly.