Demand for implementation of relief package

Accusing the government of “moving slow” on its promise to disburse the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)-assured compensation and of omitting a few identified endosulfan victims from the list of persons to be compensated, yet another indefinite relay hunger strike will begin here from February 18.

Social and cultural activists and the mothers of the victims will take part in the agitation, spearheaded by the Endosulfan Peedhitha Janakeeya Munnani in their bid to force the government to swiftly implement the NHRC-suggested rehabilitation package, Munnani convener Ambalathara Kunhikrishnan said.

The agitation comes after the temporary suspension of a 130-day relay hunger strike by the mothers of endosulfan victims following “fruitful” talks in August last in Thiruvananthapuram with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. He had assured them that he would look into their major demands.

The NHRC had asked the State government to provide Rs.5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and the totally bed-ridden victims and Rs.3 lakh each to the critically ill.

In a government order sent to the NHRC dated January 12, 2012, the authorities had furnished a list of 4,182 victims — 2,453 categorised as critically ill and 1,729 in the other group.

Despite holding “satisfactory” talks with the delegation of agitating mothers led by P. Karunakaran, MP, the government was not sincere in its efforts to mitigate the plight of hundreds of victims, who are reeling under a host of mysterious diseases, attributed to the prolonged spraying of the endosulfan pesticide in the cashew estates of Plantation Corporation of Kerala (PCK) Ltd., Mr. Kunhikrishnan told The Hindu .

No special funds had been earmarked in the last Budget for the package, leading to undue delay in paying the amount.

The list of 4,182 victims had been made after examining around 26,000 patients by a team of medical experts during various medical camps and the fresh move to “truncate” the list was unwarranted and unacceptable, Mr. Kunhikrishnan said.

  • Mothers of victims, activists to take part

  • 130-day stir suspended in August after talks