Forest Minister Benoy Viswam on Monday criticised the stand taken by India against global ban on endosufan at the sixth meeting of Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee to the Stockholm Convention at Geneva last week.
“India’s stand was not right. The general consensus at the meeting was in favour of the ban. India should have supported that view,” the Minister told The Hindu.
The Minister said that the Indian government should not have become the ‘spokesman’ of the pesticides lobby at the meeting. “If you go to Kasaragod, you can see the effect of endosulfan on people. Many of the affected were in such a condition that they could be described as ‘the living dead’.”
He added that when corporate companies were marketing endosulfan for profit at the cost of lives, the Central Government should have stood by the people of the country. “It is high time that the Centre accept the truth (about endosulfan) and stand for the welfare and future prosperity of the country.”
It may be recalled that only India had opposed the proposal for ban on endosulfan at the Committee meeting attended by 29 member countries. With four countries abstaining, the committee recommended ban on manufacture, use, import and export of endosulfan with certain exemptions to the Conference of Parties of the Stockholm Convention.
Mr. Viswam had earlier written to the Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest Jayaram Ramesh urging him that India should take a stand in favour of the ban at the meeting.
He recalled that the chemical, used indiscriminately in the cashew plantations in Kasaragod district for years, had caused serious and chronic illnesses, which forced the Kerala High Court to intervene in the matter in 2002, leading to imposition of a ban in Kerala.
India dropped out of the discussions towards the end and did not participate in voting.