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Pro-Endosulfan stand a blot on nation's image, says Sudheeran

Staff Reporter
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Chief Minister urged to take the lead in getting ban imposed

Solidarity: Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran addressing a group of anti-Endosulfan activists in Kasaragod on Tuesday.
Solidarity: Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran addressing a group of anti-Endosulfan activists in Kasaragod on Tuesday.

Expressing unflinching solidarity with the hundreds of Endosulfan victims and their families in the district, senior Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran said on Tuesday that the pro-Endosulfan stand reportedly adopted by Indian delegates at the Conference of Parties to Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, now on in Geneva, had brought serious ‘disgrace' to the nation's image.

Mr. Sudheeran, who was here to attend a solidarity meeting of the mothers of Endosulfan victims at the worst-hit Badiyadukka village near here, told The Hindu that the Indian delegates' ‘lobbying' at the convention to unleash a campaign among the representatives of other nations was equally appalling. It was shocking at a time when India was playing a lead role in fostering global peace and fighting ecological degradation and instances of human rights violations at a global level.

Mr. Sudheeran warned of intensified agitation in the coming days if the authorities refused to enforce a blanket ban on the production, distribution and use of the hazardous pesticide that had wreaked havoc in the lives of many villagers.

He said the selfless efforts by various anti-Endosulfan campaign activists based in Kasaragod district had scripted a success story by bringing global attention to the alarming health hazards being posed by the pesticide.

“However, it is sad to note that the issue has now acquired political colours. The Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition should not let the situation get out of hand,” he said. The political leadership, by actively involving the anti-Endosulfan activists of Kasaragod, should hold deliberations about evolving future strategies to ensure a nationwide ban on the pesticide, Mr. Sudheeran said.

Hailing Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan's move to draw the attention of the Chief Ministers of all States in the country on the need to arrive at a consensus on a ban of the pesticide, Mr. Sudheeran urged the Chief Minister to take the lead in convening a national conference of the Chief Ministers, Ministers, officials, agricultural scientists, and local activists on Endosulfan in Kasaragod

A quick decision on this count would help in gauging the ground-level situation in various States on the ban, he said.

While initiating steps to ban the pesticide, the authorities should also ensure continuation of effective rehabilitation packages for all deserving victims amid complaints that many affected families were yet to get enlisted in the official list. The government should provide medical care to them at super-speciality hospitals and should set up a tribunal to decide on time-bound disbursal of compensation.

The State government could immediately bring an ordinance after seeking the permission of the Election Commission, he said.

Mr. Sudheeran later addressed a solidarity meeting of mothers of Endosulfan victims at Badiyadukka, where a parallel Stockholm summit decided to enforce a “global ban” on the Endosulfan and other hazardous pesticides. Anti-Endosulfan Campaign Committee chairman Narayanan Periya; environmental activist and documentary-maker M.A. Rahman; Mahin Kelot; Madhava Panicker; and anti-Endosulfan activists took part in the meeting.

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