Kerala government and various non-governmental organisations in the State will organise protests across the State on Monday demanding ban on Endosulfan as the conference of parties of the Stockholm Convention meets in Geneva to consider a global ban.
Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan will lead a mass ‘satyagraha' from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Martyrs' Column here demanding that India should adopt a stand in favour of the ban at the convention, and that the Centre should provide assistance to the State to compensate victims of Endosulfan. His Cabinet colleagues will lead sit-ins at district headquarters.
The Chief Minister took strong objection to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not conceding the demand of an all-party delegation from Kerala for a national ban on Endosulfan and support for the cause at the convention. “The Prime Minister should not use his office to promote the pesticide lobby like the Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar,” he said adding that Mr. Singh should look into the issues presented by the delegation on Friday seriously.
Urging Mr. Singh to rethink his stand, the Chief Minister called upon the Prime Minister to discuss the matter in the Cabinet. Union Ministers from Kerala should also rethink their stand and support the ban. It was regrettable that the Centre was not assisting the State to provide the compensation recommended by the National Human Rights Commission to the victims.
He warned that the Prime Minister would face situation similar to the 2G spectrum scam and people's protest against corruption under the leadership of Anna Hazare if he went by the views of people like Mr. Pawar. Mr. Pawar was one who had supported the sugar lobby ignoring the cause of farmers.
Now, he was claiming that he was trying to protect the interests of farmers elsewhere in India. No government should ignore the travails of the people on the ground that they were from two States only.
Describing Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh as ‘‘anti-people and anti-environment,'' Mr. Achuthanandan asked whether Mr. Ramesh did not know that Endosulfan was dangerous. People of 96 villages in his home State of Karnataka had been hit by the pesticide.
Minister for Law M. Vijayakumar said that Endosulfan caused the biggest humanitarian problem in Kerala causing the death of hundreds and rendering thousands ill in the plantation areas. Members of Parliament, the Assembly and the local self-governments and political, social, cultural and trade union leaders would join the protest on Monday. The Opposition leaders had also been invited to join the protest. Mass gatherings in districts would take pledges against Endosulfan.
As a prelude to the programmes, an exhibition of paintings would be organised at the Martyrs' Column on Sunday.
The Green Community announced that it would organise ‘satyagraha' from April 25 to 29 in front of the Secretariat to coincide with the meeting of the conference of parties of Stockholm Convention. Several other non-governmental organisations announced that they would join the ‘satyagraha' on Monday.