Kerala Forest Minister Benoy Viswam has directed the take over of 284.43 hectares of leased forest land from the State-owned Plantation Corporation of Kerala and its distribution to the victims of endosulfan.

In a note to the Principal Secretary (Forests), the Minister observed that the Corporation had breached lease conditions regarding the land of its Rajapuram estate. The issue had also to be viewed against the background of the people of the area who had suffered from aerial spraying of endosulfan by the Corporation. Hence, the land being taken over should be used for the rehabilitation of the victims and clearance for that under the Forest (Conservation) Act should be sought urgently from the Centre.

Mr. Viswam noted that this would be the most humanitarian decision of the Forest Department, taken as the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is discussing the tragedies caused by endosulfan. It should be implemented with utmost urgency.

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