Union Ministers differ?

THRISSUR JULY 3. The Union Minister for Agriculture, Ajith Singh, and the Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Hukumdev Narayan Yadav, seem to differ on the authority of the Centre in curbing the use of Endosulfan in the State.

While Mr. Singh said on Tuesday that any adverse effects on environment on account of the use of Endosulfan would be properly inquired into so as to find a suitable solution, Mr. Yadav said here today that the Centre had no authority except the advisory power on the issue.

"We (the Centre) are helpless. It is the duty of the State Government to prosecute the company that uses the chemical. The responsibility of control of pesticides comes under the purview of the State Government,'' Mr. Yadav said.

However, he disclosed that the Union Agriculture Ministry had advised the State Government to discontinue the unscientific spraying of Endosulfan in the plantations including the ones owned by the Kerala Plantation Corporation, which encumbered the farmers to protect themselves from the harmful effects of spraying.

Talking to reporters after visiting the Biotechnology Centre of the Horticulture College of the Kerala Agricultural University here, Mr. Yadav said that when this matter of asking the residents to protect their food items from the spraying came to his consideration, he had written in the file itself that it may be possible for the farmer to protect his prepared food, but not his pond from the pollution caused by the unscientific spraying of the chemical.

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