Seeking for a detailed documentation on the host of the relief and rehabilitation packages for the hundreds of victims, the two-day national workshop on Endosulfan began here with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy calling for collective efforts to implement comprehensive relief and rehabilitation package for the affected people.
The alarming health hazards caused by the prolonged exposure of endosulfan pesticide among the hundreds of hapless victims should not be treated as their individual issue and instead, the public assisted by local body members and legislators from the district should join hands to ensure that the assured comprehensive rehabilitation package is reached to the targeted section, who are fated to lead a life in perpetual misery for no fault of theirs, Mr. Chandy said.
Having decided to implement rehabilitation package to endosulfan victims as per the National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) recommendations, the priority before the government now was to ensure the best possible treatment by seeking services of various hospitals in the State and nearby Mangalore to provide solace to the hundreds of victims and their families residing in remote areas of the district, he said.
Efforts would be made to provide additional facilities in Buds school, set up for the children afflicted with the mental and physical retardation, and special training module would be put in place to help the young victims get gainful employment, he said, inaugurating the workshop ‘Concord-2012’ (Consultative Workshop on Comprehensive Rehabilitation of Endosulfan Victims and Rejuvenation of Ecosystem in Kasaragod District) here on Saturday.
The initiatives could be implemented successfully only through mass participation of the public and involvement of the people’s representatives and local bodies, he pointed out.
Complimenting the district administration for extending whole-hearted support to mitigate the plight of the affected families residing in 11 panchayat limits in the district, he said the initiatives being carried out in Kasaragod should be turned as a role model not just for Kerala but to the entire nation.
Mr. Chandy said steps would be taken to host similar workshops, cautioning against the over dependence of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, in Thiruvananthapuram and New Delhi in future.
Stating that the funds needed for implementing rehabilitation in tune with the NHRC recommendation is much beyond the capacity of the State, Mr. Chady said his government would, however, strive to overcome the financial constraints to provide assured packages to the victims and their families.
Stating that the Centre had not come forward to provide assistance to meet the huge financial burden for providing assured package to the victims and their families, Mr. Chandy said he had taken up the issue during the recent meeting he had with the Prime Minister in New Delhi.
State Agriculture Minister K. P. Mohanan, while addressing the gathering at the function held at the Chinmaya Tejus auditorium here said the State required another Rs. 425 crore fund to implement complete rehabilitation package to the victims.
P, Karunakaran, MP, Organising Committee Chairman of the workshop, presided over the function. It was also attended by local MLAs from the district P. B. Abdul Razak, N. A. Nellikunnu, K. Kunhiraman (Uduma), E. Chandrasekharan and K. Kunhiraman (Thrikaripur), District Panchayat President P. P. Shyamala Devi and District Collector V. N. Jithendran.
Padma Shri award winning environmentalist and Director, Centre for Science & Environment, New Delhi, Sunita Narain delivered key note address at the function.