Claiming that India had adoped a "constructive approach" at the international convention to ban Endosulfan, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said that a cost-effective alternative would help in phasing out the pesticide well before the global deadline of 11 years.
"This is a victory for India. We protected our interests with three conditions, but we did not buck the international consensus," he said, pointing out that exemptions had been obtained for specific crops and pests.
He also lashed out at Kerala Chief Minister S. Achuthanandan's "hypocritical" and "high-decibel campaign" against the pesticide. A quarter of a century of aerial spraying of Endosulfan by a State-owned cashew plantation company in the Kasargod district of Kerala affected thousands of residents.
"What happened in Kasargod was a colossal human tragedy, and those responsible should be held accountable. The Kerala government does not talk about this genocide by the government on their own people. Instead, they call me a murderer,” Mr. Ramesh told reporters on Monday, questioning the State’s "holier than thou" attitude and failure to take action against the original perpetrators.
The Minister also criticised the NGOs campaigning against India at the international convention with “false briefings”.
“In India, people are against pesticides, and the very same people are against a technology like genetic modification which allows you to dispose of pesticides. We can’t be technophobic,” he said. “At some stage, we have to realise that we must adopt new technologies with adequate safeguards.”
He called for wider epidemiological studies to establish evidence about the dangers of Endosulfan, especially in West Bengal, which is the largest user of the pesticide.