‘India must correct its position'

Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran, who is actively campaigning for a ban on Endosulfan in the State, has sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention to get India correct its position at the Stockholm Convention and support the move for a global ban on the pesticide.

Mr. Sudheeran wrote to the Prime Minister on Thursday, urging the Central government to ban the manufacture, sale and use of Endosulfan, besides announcing a special package for the victims of the pesticide in Kasaragod under a joint programme of the Centre and the State government.

Permanent tribunal

Mr. Sudheeran wanted the government to include provisions in the Pesticides Management Bill, 2008 to empower State governments to ban pesticides unsuitable in their respective areas.

He suggested the establishment of a permanent tribunal with the authority to decide on claims of compensation and rehabilitation of victims of pesticide contamination under the proposed Bill, which was now before Parliament.

Mr. Sudheeran expressed his concern at reports that the Indian delegation to the Stockholm Convention had toed the pesticide industry's line.

Varied views

He pointed out the divergent perceptions of various Central Ministries which viewed the impact of the pesticide from the agriculture viewpoint and not from that of the health of the people. He highlighted the contradictory position that the Agriculture Ministry had taken overlooking the research studies conducted by the National Institute of Occupation Health as authorised by the Indian Council of Medical Research following a direction from the National Human Rights Commission.

With regard to the Pesticide Management Bill, Mr. Sudheeran said the proposed legislation addressed the issue of spurious pesticides, but not the elimination or phasing out those pesticides that had high toxicity.

Since agriculture was a State subject, empowering the State government to regulate pesticide use was a matter of administrative logic, he added.