Today's Paper

HC orders interim solatium for endosulfan victims

Observing that measures taken by the State government are insufficient to help the victims of endosulfan in three coastal districts, the Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the government to pay an interim stipend of Rs.1,500 per month for each of those who suffered disability of 25-60 per cent and Rs.3,000 for those with more than 60 per cent disability.

The payment of compensation should start from March 1. The High Court directed the State authorities to pay the stipend directly to the bank accounts of the victims or their caregivers. It directed the officials to ensure the victims or their caregivers opened a bank account.

The stipend will be paid to eligible persons from among the 6,140 victims spread in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada, identified by the State government.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna issued the directions acting on suggestions made in the report submitted by amicus curiae Vaishali Hegde.

The report said that though many assurances were made by the State, majority of them had not yet been implemented, including issuance of smart card for identifying the victims for providing them various facilities.

Ms. Hegde said the State was not paying any extra compensation to the victims of endosulfan but was paying only the disability allowance as per the Persons with Disabilities Act.

While 134 persons (with more than 75 per cent disability) were given Rs. 1,200 per month as disability allowance, 95 persons (with 40 to 75 per cent disability) were given Rs.400 per month as per the information given to the Legislative Assembly and Council by the Minister for Health, the report said.

“The State government needs to realise that it is not giving bounty to the victims and that the present condition of the victims and their families is because of the acts and omissions on the part of the State and its functionaries, to which it should own up its responsibilities,” the report said, while pointing out that endosulfan was sprayed aerially between 1980 and 2001 by Karnataka Cashew Development Corporation.

The following are the recommendations made by amicus curiae Vaishali Hegde in her report submitted to the High Court:

Short-term

Empanel private hospitals for providing free treatment

Set up more day care centres equipped with facilities such as physiotherapy

Immediate establishment of 24X7 care centre in each affected taluks

Payment of monthly stipend

Ensure visit of specialist doctors to community health centres

Facility of prenatal scanning (except sex determination) since most of the diseases are congenital and can be detected to a large extent in foetal stage

Consider employment opportunities to at least one family member of victims

Long term

Rs 5 lakh compensation for the family of each of 47 deceased victims

Rs. 5 lakh each for the bedridden and also for those with more than 65 per cent disability, and Rs. 3 lakh for those with less than 65 per cent disability, to be kept in fixed deposit and released in instalments



The payment of compensation should start from March 1: Court