The ICMR report and suggestions made for the benefit of endosulfan victims had been incorporated in the directions issued by the Supreme Court three days ago

An Indian Council for Medical Research-funded study on the use of endosulfan in Kasargod and Dakshina Kannada, which had been put in the backburner for years, saw the light of day because of the Right to Information Act that helped activists to explain the harmful affects of the pesticide before the Supreme Court, Ravindranath Shanbhag, activist and dean of K.V. Virani Institute of Pharmacy and Research Institute, Amreli, Gujarat, who has been fighting for the cause of endosulfan victims, has said.

Speaking at a function to mark the seventh anniversary of the Act here on Saturday, Dr. Shanbhag said the Supreme Court in 2011 asked ICMR for a report on the impact of endosulfan on the people. For this, the ICMR president stated that the institute needed 15 years. “Such a statement came as a shock as ICMR had funded a research way back in July 2003,” Dr. Shanbhag said.

Dr. Shanbhag filed an application under the Right to Information Act seeking details of the research conducted by a team led by Pratap Kumar, professor and head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Kastruba Medical College (KMC). “Following the application, ICMR sought from KMC a copy of the report as it had destroyed the original one. The copy received by ICMR from KMC was given to me. This is all before the Supreme Court,” Dr. Shanbhag said.

The ICMR report and suggestions made for the benefit of endosulfan victims had been incorporated in the directions issued by the Supreme Court three days ago, he said.

Earlier, RTI activist Krishna Moolya spoke about the way an application under the Right to Information Act led to release of prize amount granted to a non-governmental organisation under Nirmal Gram Yojana, which had been with the State government for over three years.

Harsha Raj Gatty, convenor and coordinator of White Whistle, Mangalore, spoke.

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