The National Alliance of People's Movement, representing several civil society groups, on Monday sought a “complete ban” on the use and manufacture of the controversial toxic agri-chemical Endosulfan. “The deadly pesticide is banned by 81 countries and by the Kerala and Karnataka governments, yet it doesn't seem to be reason enough for the Centre to ban it all over the country.

Since 1976, continued aerial spray of Endosulfan has led close to 9,000 deaths, and nearly 4,800 bedridden patients with severe physical and mental deformities in Kerala alone. But even then the government refuses an all-India ban. One wonders whose interest is it protecting.”

The NAPM refused to buy the argument of the Pesticides Manufacturers and Formulators Association of India (PMFAI), which is opposing the ban, that EU firms wanted to protect their commercial interests by supporting a ban on the generic production of cheap Endosulfan in India.

“On the face of it, the PMFAI seems to be concerned about the high costs that Indian farmers have to pay for pesticides, but refuse to recognise that the damage caused by Endosulfan is irreversible. Endosulfan is only one side of the story since the pesticide lobby has interests in seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and everything that farmers and communities own - land, water, seeds, knowledge and most importantly, market. It is unfortunate that the Ministry of Agriculture is resisting the ban,” the alliance said.

More In: NEW DELHI | NATIONAL