Activists for the cause of endosulfan victims here pin their hopes on the second round of talks to be held in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on the rehabilitation of the victims.
The preliminary talks held on Thursday with Mr. Chandy were inconclusive.
“We feel that the preliminary talks could have been fruitful had the Chief Minister showed a little more patience to understand the issues, though he had promised to consider the contentious issues in the next round of talks,” Ambalathara Kunhikrishnan, convener of the Endosulfan Peedhitha Janakeeya Munnai, a people’s front for the cause of the victims, which has been leading a hunger strike here.
The Chief Minister sought more time to make a final decision, he said.
None of the agitating anti-endosuflan or environmental activists has been invited for the talks. P. Karunakaran, MP, local MLAs, the district panchayat president, and senior district-level officials will participate.
Officials of the endosulfan relief and remediation cell, formed after the United Democratic Front came to power in the State, have been invited for the meeting. But the cell, chaired by Agriculture Minister K.P. Mohanan, had not convened any meeting to review the relief measures for the victims, Mr. Karunakaran said. This would be raised at the meeting.
The preliminary meeting arrived at a near consensus to the accept the demand for extending the relief and rehabilitation package after the stipulated five years and holding of fresh medical camps to identify victims outside the 11 worst-affected panchayats where the pesticide had been aerially sprayed for years.
However, the demand for writing off loans taken by the victims’ families to meet the expenses for prolonged medical treatment has not been met, Ambikasudan Mangad, activist, said.
Sea of humanity
The front has decided to form a “sea of humanity” from 2.30 p.m. to 5 pm on Monday to pressure the government to end the agitation that entered the 35th day on Sunday. Nearly 3,000 people from various organisations and political parties will host programmes as the meeting will be in progress, Mr. Mangad said.
Gro Vasu and Moin Bappu, environmental activists, have been on an indefinite fast for four days. The health of A. Mohan Kumar continues to cause concern as the activist refuses to take food in hospital where he was shifted on March 20 after 16 days of fast. Sources said Mr. Kumar’s vision had been fading from exhaustion.
Suresh Gopi, actor, has expressed his willingness to go on a fast if the talks failed.