Rehabilitation scheme for endosulfan victims

Senior Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran has called upon Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to convene a meeting to review the progress of the government initiative for relief and rehabilitation schemes for endosulfan victims.

“There have been complaints that the government-announced packages are not reaching the victims. The Chief Minister should hold a review meeting with people’s representatives and activists of various voluntary organisations that have been fighting for the cause of endosulfan victims,” Mr. Sudheeran told reporters here on Monday. The participation of activists of voluntary organisations in the review meeting is essential to assess the problems faced by endosulfan victims and their families, he said.

Mr. Chandy had initiated a series of steps to ameliorate the sufferings of the victims. However, the steps taken by the Endosulfan Relief and Remediation cell under the district administration needed to be reviewed to ensure that they were made in a more transparent manner, he said.

Dissatisfied

Mr. Sudheeran, who was here to attend a day-long hearing by the State government-appointed commission led by M.K. Jayarajan to gather more inputs on the issues faced by the mentally challenged people, at the Municipal Conference hall here, expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of the committee headed by the State Agriculture Minister to look into the issues faced by endosulfan victims.

“Unfortunately, the committee headed by the State Agriculture Minister has failed to hold at least one sitting to review the progress of the ongoing relief and rehabilitation package. Besides, there had been serious flaws in the constitution of the committee as it did not have any representation of voluntary agencies that had been working for years fighting for the cause of the endosulfan victims,” he pointed out.

Centre’s stand

Terming “unfortunate” the Centre’s go-slow in enforcing a nationwide ban on the pesticide, Mr. Sudheeran said the fact that the Union Agriculture Ministry had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on the health hazards ofendosulfan use proved that the Centre was still striving to support the pesticide lobby, he alleged.

The State government should now work to correct the Centre’s stand on moving slow on banning the pesticide, he said. (EoM)

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