Chief Minister Oommen Chandy reiterated here on Wednesday that the government would pay the compensation recommended by the National Human Rights Commission to the endosulfan victims in Kasaragod district.
Speaking to the media after a meeting of the Cabinet, the Chief Minister said that the Chief Secretary had been asked to examine all sides of the issue and submit a report for consideration of the Cabinet next week. The government was examining whether the manufactures and suppliers of endosulfan could be held liable to pay compensation. Payment could not be made earlier, as there was no positive response from the Centre regarding financial contribution to pay the compensation.
Mr. Chandy said that the Health Department officials had acted rightly over the legal notice received from S. Ganesan representing endosulfan manufactures. Media reports saying that the Department had sought amendments to the epidemiological studies done by the Community Medicine Department of Kozhikode Medical College was contrary to facts. The Department had, in fact, declined to accept Mr. Ganesan’s suggestions and had closed the matter.
He recalled that Ganesan had sent letters to the Community Medicine Department saying that there were serious errors in the studies which should be corrected. Mr. Ganesan had subsequently issued a legal notice to the Principal Secretary (Health) upon his not getting any response from the College. The Principal Secretary sought the advice of the Law Department, and on advice from the Law Department, wrote to the Head of the Community Medicine Department seeking his opinion on the request of Ganesan to convene a meeting to discuss the matter. He also requested the Head to “report whether there is any impediment in accepting suggestions, if any, from Mr. Ganesan for curing the defect, if any, in the report already prepared and to make it fool proof”.
The Head of the Department replied that there was no need to hold a meeting or accept Mr. Ganesan’s suggestions. The findings of the studies were reviewed by scientific bodies and the Joint Expert Committee of the Supreme Court on endosulfan.
The government decision was communicated to the advocate of Mr. Ganesan on April 2 this year as follows: "I am to invite your attention to the reference cited and to inform you that Government is not in favour of convening a meeting with Sri S. Ganesan nor accepting any suggestion from Sri S. Ganesan regarding the study since the studies are already reviewed by the apex scientific body, the Indian Council of Medical Research, National Institute of Medical Statistics and the Supreme Court Joint Expert Committee on Endosulfan."