Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala on Tuesday said the April 29 hartal call of the Left Democratic Front seeking a ban on Endosulfan was intended for political gains.

In a statement here, Mr. Chennithala said Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan did not have the rectitude to speak on behalf of the victims of Endosulfan since he had failed to enforce the prevalent ban on the pesticide during the five years his government was in office in the State.

He attributed political motives to Mr. Achuthanandan's ongoing campaign at the fag end of his government's tenure as he was impatient to don the mantle of the Leader of the Opposition. “This was the reason why he was giving the leadership for an anti-Centre campaign by attempting to put the blame on the UPA government,” Mr. Chennithala said.

He said the Centre had issued a notification banning the use of Endosulfan in October 2006. But Mr. Achuthanandan did not do anything to give effect to the ban from then to April 24, 2011. He had now come up with a campaign for an all-India ban on the pesticide because he wanted to cover up his lapses and guilt for not taking any valid step, Mr. Chennithala said.

Centre's intention

The Prime Minister's statement that he would visit the affected areas soon clearly brought out the Centre's good intention in the issue. “What is wrong in the Prime Minister's stand on taking a decision till the ICMR report was available? The report will be made available in a time-bound manner. A government can take a decision only on the basis of an expert study ,” Mr. Chennithala said.

He pointed out that the Prime Minister had agreed to the request of Kerala MPs and himself for setting up a single committee to study the impact of Endosulfan, instead of going in for separate research by the Agriculture, Health and Environment Ministries. Similarly, the Centre had agreed to keep out C.G. Mayi from the expert committee as per the request of the State MPs.

The United Democratic Front and the Congress were united in their opinion that Endosulfan should be banned in the country. “We will be in the forefront in creating public opinion in support of a nation-wide ban. But neither the UDF nor the Congress wants to politicise the Endosulfan issue,” he said.