The government is ready to extend all possible assistance to the victims of the endosulfan tragedy, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the Assembly on Monday.
The demands to write off the loans of the victims of the endosulfan tragedy and extend compensatory benefits beyond the 11 panchayats that have been identified as affected areas were under active consideration, he said, while replying to the notice for an adjournment motion moved by K. Kunhiraman, Thrikkaripur MLA, on the indefinite agitation launched by a group of endosulfan victims before the Chief Minister’s official residence.
Mr. Chandy said the government was studying the report of the Ramachandran Nair commission that was set up to assess the impact of the tragedy.
“A committee chaired by the District Collector has gone into the demand to write off the loans of endosulfan victims. The committee is expected to submit its report by January 31. A decision on the matter will be taken based on the report.”
Mr. Chandy said the government had issued an order to collect Rs.26 crore as compensation from the Plantation Corporation that was responsible for the indiscriminate application of endosulfan, resulting in the tragedy. “This is in addition to the Rs.27 crore already paid. The next director board meeting of the corporation is expected to clear the second instalment.”
Mr. Chandy said more than 5,000 victims of the tragedy were being treated free of cost. Seeking leave for discussion on the issue, Mr. Kunhiraman accused the government of failure to honour its promises to the affected people.
He said thousands of victims eligible for the assistance scheme were left out of the list.
He alleged that endosulfan manufacturers were exerting pressure on the government to brand the victims of the tragedy as criminals and anti-national elements.
The Speaker later denied leave for adjournment of the House to discuss the issue.