Commercialization of Bt Brinjal got a thumbs down from Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday, who imposed a moratorium on it till further study.
Ramesh said, " It is my duty to adopt a cautious approach on Bt Brinjal."
"Moratorium has been issued till the study confirms safety of the product," he added.
The Centre was to make a formal announcement over the commercialisation of Bt Brinjal today.
Earlier, caught between pro and anti-Bt Brinjal groups, Ramesh said the decision by the Centre on commercial introduction would not be 'easy' but it would reflect the 'people's general sentiment'.
Ramesh had earlier said he did not expect anybody to be happy with the keenly awaited decision, even as Karnataka joined Uttarakhand in deciding to ban Bt Brinjal without waiting for the Centre to take a call on commercialisation of the genetically modified crop.
Farmers, NGO's and members of various organisations had unanimously condemned the move to introduce Bt Brinjal, carrying placards with slogans like "we don't need Bt Brinjal."
They argued that its introduction would be unsafe, as research conducted in the field was still insufficient. Seed owners would not end up being farmers, but multinationals, they added.
Some farmers, however, favoured the cultivation of Bt Brinjal, on grounds that a high yield would spell better economic stability and mitigate the financial problems of farmers.
Scientists stated that Bt Brinjal is still not ready for mass consumption. They said technology and research has to be fine-tuned.