State government’s move to include Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy) experts to suggest ways of treating victims of endosulfan has been questioned by Human Rights Protection Foundation, a the Udupi-based group.

“Government should stop giving false hopes to the victim,” said Foundation’s president Ravindranath Shanbhag, who is also a petitioner before the Supreme Court in the case demanding relief for endosulfan victims in costal Karnataka.

Hundreds of people have been suffering from various diseases including mental retardation and infertility allegedly because of aerial spraying of endosulfan, a pesticide, in the early part of the last decade to protect cashew crops. A four-member team of experts from the Department of Ayush recently visited victims of endosulfan in Kokkada and Alankaru in Belthangady taluk of Dakshina Kannada. They also met doctors treating the victims and also those fighting for the cause of victims.

Dr. Shanbhag told reporters here on Saturday that it would not be possible to use ayurvedic methods to treat disabilities caused because of exposure to endosulfan. He said he was not against the ayurvedic system or its practitioners, Dr. Shanbhag said the State government had not made enough budgetary allocation to accommodate the recommendations made by these experts. “Even if they recommend a way of treatment, will it be possible to provide it to 12,500 victims in the State with a meagre budget of Rs. 2 crore allocated this year? This money should not be wasted on exercises that do not help victims,” he said.

Initiative by doctors

Dr. Shanbhag said a group of eight doctors have come forward to treat endosulfan victims free of cost under the banner Endosulfan Victims Welfare Association. “The idea behind this move is to have one doctor close to the locality where the victims are staying,” he said.

Dr. Shanbhag said efforts were on to find the technology to analyse the gene of people living in area where endosulfan has been sprayed. This will help in mapping of genes and identify whether or not the disabilities are a result of exposure to endosulfan. “Preliminary report is being prepared for submission to the ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research). We hope to get grants from the ICMR,” he said.

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