Senior Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran on Tuesday came down heavily on Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and the Union Ministries of Agriculture, Health and Environment, accusing them of being party to the interests of what he termed the Endosulfan lobby, and of not doing what they should have done.
Flagging off an anti-Endosulfan awareness vehicle campaign by medical students of T.D. Medical College here on Tuesday, Mr. Sudheeran said while the statements made in support of Endosulfan by Mr. Pawar and the Agriculture Ministry indicated they were parties to the schemes of the Endosulfan lobby, the Health and Environment Ministries should come forward to carry out their responsibilities.
The actions of these two ministries so far had nothing to show that they were doing their duties, he said.
Mr. Sudheeran, citing the ban on Endosulfan in 81 countries and the various studies by international and national agencies conducted in areas affected by the pesticide in Kasaragod district over the years, said the significance of the latest Central team to conduct a study on Kasaragod belied logic.
There was no doubt over the credentials of the experts in the team, but the methodology and approach, when they had spent barely three days in the affected areas, had to be questioned.
The Union Agriculture Ministry's stance on this issue was defiant, unscientific and against the norms of democracy, he said.
Mr. Sudheeran also lashed out at a few commissions appointed earlier by the Centre, questioning their credentials, and lamented that the Agriculture Ministry appeared to be relying only upon such commissions when there was plenty of authentic literature on the ill-effects of Endosulfan available from across the world, particularly from the 81 countries that had banned the pesticide, all at the click of a mouse from the Internet.
The State government and Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan had a lead role to play in putting pressure on the Union government into supporting a global ban on Endosulfan at the forthcoming Stockholm Convention, he said, adding in reply to a query that politics should be kept out of the issue and that a humanitarian approach was essential.
The vehicle campaign by the medical students will travel across the State, holding street programmes, distributing pamphlets and collecting signatures before winding up in Kasaragod in an attempt to put pressure on the Centre to support the global ban on Endosulfan.
Keywords: Endosulfan issue