NATIONAL

Endosulfan case: court moved for early hearing

A petition has been moved before the Kerala High Court Registrar for an early posting and hearing of a writ petition seeking rehabilitation, treatment, and welfare of endosulfan victims.

The case is pending before the Bench headed by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur.

In his petition, Kaleeswaram Raj, counsel for the petitioner, pointed out that the petition was directed to be posted on September 24, 2013. However, the case was not shown in the cause list of September 24. In fact, urgent reliefs had been sought in the writ petition.

The petitioner said the government had earmarked Rs.280 crore for providing compensation to the victims.

He pointed out that the State government was misleading the court as the amount disbursed was contributed by the Plantation Corporation.

However, the victims were yet to get any amount from the fund announced by the government.

The petitioner sought a directive to pay compensation to the entire 5,500 victims who had already been identified.

The State government in a statement said that it had formulated several schemes for the rehabilitation and welfare of the affected people in Kasaragod district. The State government had submitted that it had disbursed Rs.27 crore as compensation to the victims.

Petitioner B.C. Kumaran of Kasaragod said that though the government issued an order constituting the district-level cell on October 15, 2011, there had not been any follow-up action. The petitioner alleged that the Centre had not provided any funds for giving compensation to the victims.

The National Human Rights Commission had recommended a compensation of Rs.5 lakh each to the dependents of those who had died as well as to those who had been bedridden due to exposure to endosulfan.

The State government had also submitted in another affidavit that a committee had been constituted to examine whether compensation could be realised from the manufacturing companies.

It had also informed the court that another committee had been also constituted to conduct a study as to whether the debts of endosulfan victims should be written off or not.

The affidavit had pointed out that a comprehensive package of services and benefits were being extended to the victims by the government.

Apart from the district-level cell for the rehabilitation of endosulfan victims, a special cell for coordinating the functions of different government offices and agencies was also constituted.