Environmental activist Vandana Shiva has called upon the Central government for an absolute ban on manufacture, supply and use of Endosulfan in the country.

Delivering the keynote address at a national convention on ban of Endosulfan held in Kasaragod on Sunday, Ms. Shiva said that India should stand with the call for Endosulfan ban at the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. The country would be isolated from the international community if it did not join the global consensus on Endosulfan ban, she said adding that the call for the ban was being opposed by what she called the ‘‘pesticide lobby.''

She alleged that Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar was succumbing to the lobby. She recalled the Minister's exclusion from the panel constituted by the government for drafting the Lokpal Bill as demanded by the civil society in the country.

Observing that corruption was rampant in the country, Ms. Shiva said that corruption should not be confined to just bribery. Distortion of facts, attempts to mislead people and suppression of truth jeopardising the people's interests were various forms of corruption, she said calling for steps to curb them at all levels.

Various studies on Endosulfan had proved beyond doubt the ill-effects of the pesticide on human body. She alleged that the latest panel study being conducted by a Central government panel was eyewash. Such efforts should be collectively resisted by the people, she said.

The convention was held by the Endosulfan Virudha Samara Samithi. Organising committee chairman K.P. Mohamed Kunhi presided over the function. The convention was inaugurated by Forest Minister Benoy Viswom. Endosulfan victim Shahina read out the citizens' declaration of Endosulfan ban.

Ms. Shiva also honoured Leelakumari Amma who was said to have first brought out the plight of the victims of the pesticides spraying in Kasaragod district.

Senior Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran delivered the solidarity speech at the convention. Calling on the Central government to join the call for banning Endosulfan, he said the State government should play a vital role and send an all-party delegation to exert pressure on the Centre to take a positive stand for the ban at the Stockholm convention.

He said Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan had assured that the government would take the initiative to send the delegation. P. Karunakaran, MP, Indian Lawyers' Congress State president T. Asaf Ali, social activist C.R. Neelakantan, district panchayat president P.C. Shyamala Devi and Kasaragod municipal chairman T.E. Abdulla were among those present at the convention.

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