The Indian Lawyers Congress (ILC) State unit has demanded the appointment of a Bhopal-model compensation claims commissioner for paying compensation to victims of Endosulfan exposure in Kasaragod district.
ILC State president T. Asaf Ali said at a press conference in Kasaragod on Sunday that the State government and the government-owned Kerala Plantation Corporation that had led the aerial spraying of the pesticide over its cashew plantations in some villages in Kasaragod should pay compensation to the victims of the Endosulfan tragedy including people suffering from physical and mental abnormalities and the families of 486 people who were officially confirmed to have died due to health hazards caused by the pesticide. Either the government appoints the claims commissioner or utilises the services of the Kerala State Legal Services Authority to identify the victims of the Endosulfan tragedy and calculate the claims of compensation to the dependents of the victims who had died.
He said if the State government was not willing to initiate payment of compensation, the ILC would approach the High Court seeking justice for the victims of the tragedy. He also demanded prosecution
of the guilty after holding a judicial inquiry into the bureaucratic ‘connivance’ and failures in respect of the spraying of Endosulfan, which was banned in many parts of the world, with the connivance of lawmakers over 1900 hectare land in Kasaragod without taking any lawful precaution.
The ILC demanded of the government to rehabilitate the victims of the pesticide tragedy who had been struggling with congenital abnormalities, mental retardation, neurological disorders and cancer caused by the spraying of Endosulfan in the cashew plantations over the past 26 years. The Health Department should publish its study on the health problems in children caused by Endosulfan. The government should also take steps to permanently ban Endosulfan, he added.
ILC State Secretariat member T.O. Mohanan and ILC Kasaragod district president Madhavan Malankad were also present at the press conference.