Conduct epidemiological study at Padre, Cheemeni: court

Staff Reporter

Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday directed the State Government to take further steps for conducting an epidemiological study in the entire cashew plantation areas to pinpoint the factors responsible for the health problems at Padre and Cheemeni in Kasaragod district where endosulfan was sprayed.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice V.K. Bali and Justice J. B. Koshy issued the directive while closing writ petitions filed by the Nature Lovers Movement, Ernakulam, and others.

The court also pointed out that the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation had also requested the Government to conduct a comprehensive and detailed health and epidemiological study in the entire cashew plantation areas.

In its latest affidavit, the Government said that five expert committees had been appointed to study the health problems in Padre and Cheemeni since 2000. The last committee was headed by Dr. P.K. Sivaraman.

The committee had identified health problems of various nature in the areas and also found endosulfan residues in the water, blood, vegetables, soil, and milk collected from the area.

However, the committee did not give any conclusive evidence to attribute these health problems directly to endosulfan spraying, the affidavit said. However, the committee recommended permanent ban on the spraying of endosulfan in the area and strengthening of medical facilities and rehabilitation measures for the victims of the spraying.

The Government also told the court that it had banned endosulfan use in the plantation and agriculture farms at Cheemni and Padre. The affidavit also detailed the steps taken for rehabilitation and relief of the victims of the endosulfan use.