Congress workers and members of various organisations on Wednesday took part in a day-long protest demanding compensation and other assistances for victims of endosulfan in Puttur, Bantwal, Bellthangady, and Sullia taluks. The protest was held under the aegis of Endosulfan Virodhi Samiti headed by All India Congress Committee member P.V. Mohan.
Addressing the protestors, former MLA from Puttur Shakuntala Shetty said the victims and their parents had been going through a harrowing period. “Though they have limbs, they cannot use them…” It has been difficult for poor parents to take care of children with disability resulting from endosulfan. Ms. Shetty said victims’ parents need support to take care of their children after their (parents) death. Ms. Shetty said the State as well as the Union government should come forward to support the victims and their parents.
Senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandes, who paid a brief visit to express his solidarity, said the victims were spread across the four taluks of Dakshina Kannada and other areas, including Kundapur. Mr. Fernandes said he has apprised Union Minister for Health Gulam Nabi Azad about the situation and the need for assistance. Mr. Azad has assured of taking appropriate action at the earliest.
“We do not want these people to undergo a similar fate as that of Bhopal gas victims,” he said. Companies manufacturing endosulfan had to provide compensation, he added.
Mr. Fernandes told presspersons that some non-governmental organisations had submitted reports to the Union Health Ministry about problems caused because of endosulfan. Action on these reports was awaited. Mr. Fernandes did not name the non-governmental organisations who had submitted the report.
All India Congress Committee member P.V. Mohan said the victims of endosulfan in the region need a long-term package which had to be different from what had been given in Kerala. The State government should submit a proposal to the Centre. There should be a peoples’ monitoring committee that had to ensure that the monetary benefit reached the victims. It should provide the support necessary for the welfare of the victim, he said. “We have raised this issue now to ensure that it gets the necessary attention in the ongoing Legislature session,” he said.
The former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who visited the place of protest, said he would take up the cause of endosulfan victims with Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath and ask him to get a report from the jurisdictional Deputy Commissioners.
District Secretary of Democratic Youth Federation of India Muneer Katipalla, former Mangalore City Corporation Commissioner J.R. Lobo, and Mangalore University Professor Vishwanath spoke.