The State government informed the Kerala High Court on Wednesday that it had requested the Central government to ban the use of Endosulfan all over the country as its use had caused much misery to the people.
In an affidavit, the State government said the use of Endosulfan had been banned or phased out in all countries including Brazil and the U.S. At a review meeting of the Stockholm convention in Geneva recently, the use of the pesticide was seriously considered as ‘persistent organic pollutant.' The government said that studies had shown that Endosulfan was extremely toxic in nature.
It informed the Bench of Chief Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice P.R. Ramachandra Menon that the government was seriously considering various options for providing compensation to the victims of Endosulfan in the State. As the matter involved policy decision, it had to be taken at the highest level after serious discussions.
The affidavit was filed in response to a writ petition filed by T. Asaf Ali, president, Indian Lawyers' Congress, seeking to constitute a special tribunal for identifying Endosulfan victims in Kasaragod and awarding compensation to them. He sought a directive to the Central government to ban the spraying of Endosulfan in cashew plantations in Kasaragod. He said the Plantation Corporation of Kerala and the State government were not making any efforts to identify the victims or their relatives and pay them compensation. It was, therefore, essential to constitute a tribunal on the lines of the special tribunals for Munnar land disputes and the victims of the pollution caused by the Coca-Cola plant at Plachimada.
The affidavit said the government had addressed a letter to the Union Agriculture Ministry seeking early action for solving the problems created by the use of Endosulfan. The government said that four expert committees had done epidemiological study at Padre village in Kasaragod where aerial spraying of the pesticide was conducted by the corporation.
All the committees had recommended stoppage of aerial spraying of Endosulfan. The Achuthan committee had pointed out that the corporation had not been following the rules prescribed for aerial spraying.
It pointed out that an expert committee headed by P.T. Sivaraman, constituted in 2006, found high levels of Endosulfan residue in the blood samples of schoolchildren. Ecological studies had showed high contents of Endosulfan in soil, water and vegetation. The committee was not able to find any other reason other than aerial spraying of the pesticide for the health hazards in the area. The committee had recommended a permanent ban on aerial spraying of the pesticide and sought use of integrated pest management methods using botanical pesticides.