Endosulfan victims to stage protest in Bengaluru

A.B. Ibrahim, Deputy Commissioner, and P.I. Srividya, ZP CEO,at a meeting of endosulfan victims in Mangaluru on Monday.— Photo: H.S. Manjunath  

: Notwithstanding the efforts by the district endosulfan relief enforcement committee to sort out issues, the victims from Dakshina Kannada will go ahead with their protest in Bengaluru on Wednesday against delay in payment of monthly stipend from the government. The protest would be staged at the Freedom Park.

Earlier, the committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner here on Monday tried to sort out issues by conducting a meeting. But it did not yield any result. Those with disability of more than 60 per cent are eligible to get Rs. 3,000 and with disability ranging between 25 and 60 per cent could get a stipend of Rs. 1,500. Of the 3,618 victims, 2,634 persons were eligible.

Sridhar Gowda, an endosulfan victim and convenor of the Samiti, said many victims have not received stipend since July. No efforts have been made by officials to set right the problem and ensure credit of stipend. Apart from irregular payment of stipend, victims are suffering for want of medicines at the Primary Health Centres and absence of mobile treatment units.

“Victims are suffering for want of stipend. We are being forced to take the issue to the State capital,” he said. Victims, including a few who are bedridden, will be taken to Bengaluru in seven buses.

Among those who are joining the protest include Janardhana Gowda, a labourer from Neralakatte village in Puttur, who was coming with his wife Vijaya and their 10-year-old bedridden daughter. “Yes there will be discomfort for my daughter. But we forced to do this to make the Government understand,” said Mr. Gowda, who has not received stipend of Rs. 3,000 for the past four months.

Hurriedly convening a meeting on Monday, Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim expressed his displeasure against officials from revenue, health and treasury for not resolving stipend related issues. “This is the core revenue work and involves just making a few phone calls. No interest is being shown to resolve the issue,” Mr. Ibrahim lamented.

Mr. Ibrahim directed tahsildars to coordinate with Health Department and Treasury officials and resolve the technical issues leading to non-payment of stipend by Monday night.

Following the demise of her husband Abdul Rehman in September, problems have mounted for 58-year-old Fathima in taking care of her 27-year-old daughter Zeenat in Nerimogaru village in Puttur.

Fathima says non-receipt of stipend Rs. 3,000 since April has added to her woes in taking care of her daughter, who often gets febrile convulsions. “I need to spend Rs. 2,000 every month to get a particular medicine that gives her relief.”

With non-receipt of stipend she is forced to sell her house to meet her daughter’s treatment expenses and clear debts.