The Cabinet on Wednesday decided to enhance the assistance to the next of kin of deceased victims of endosulfan to Rs.1 lakh.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media after the Cabinet meeting that the families of 178 persons who had already received Rs.50,000 as assistance would be given Rs.50,000 more. Others would get Rs.1 lakh each.

The Chief Minister said the government had already identified 486 persons who had died of afflictions caused by endosulfan.

The Cabinet had approved, in principle, the four recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission to the State government on endosulfan victims. A comprehensive relief and remediation package would be drawn up for the living victims.

A high-level conference with participation of all concerned would be convened to discuss the package. He already had discussions with Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran in this regard. In deference to demand from leaders, he might visit Kasaragod again.

He said what the government was announcing was only a token relief. A comprehensive package would require Central assistance for implementation. The government had already sought such assistance.

The Chief Minister said the ban on endosulfan, imposed by the Centre in 2006, would be strictly implemented in the State. The Collectors would be asked to convene conference of officials to take necessary measures for strict enforcement of the ban and check smuggling.

The godowns of estates would be raided. Such an action was aimed at preventing repetition of the tragedy in Kasaragod and elsewhere in the State.

Asked about the demand for a national ban on endosulfan, Mr. Chandy said that such as ban would require demand from the States concerned. Even Karnataka was proposing only a local ban.

He said the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission were received in December 2010 and they remained unimplemented. The commission had recommended payment of a compensation of Rs.5 lakh to the next of kin of those who had died and also to those who were fully bid-ridden or mentally retarded. It had also proposed a compensation of Rs.3 lakh to others with disabilities.

The commission had also suggested that the State government should render all help to establish a Centrally sponsored palliative care centre or hospital in the affected area. Besides, it had called for surveys to detect cases in districts such as Palakkad and measures to augment the health care system.

More In: Kerala | National