Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 27 (PTI): Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today assured the Assembly that the government was ready to extend all possible help to assuage the sufferings of people affected by spraying of endosulfan pesticide in Kasargod district.
Chandy was replying to a notice for an adjournment motion on the indefinite dharna by a group of 50 endosulfan victims, including women and ailing children, near his official residence ‘Cliff House’ here.
The agitators under ‘Endosulfan Victims Jankeeya Samithi’ alleged that the government had failed to implement various promises of relief and compensation made to the victims. They also complained that recommendation of the National Human Rights Commission to extend a compensation of Rs five lakh each to the families of the deceased were also not met.
Referring to the demands of agitators, Chandy said the government would extend the treatment facilities now restricted to 11 panchayats as alleged by agitators to other panchayats in the state. The government would take a decision to write off the debts of endosulfan victim families after getting the report from District Collector who was expected to submit it by January 31, he said.
Already more than 5000 persons have been identified as endosulfan victims after holding medical camps and steps had already been taken to provide free treatment to them, he said. The government was ready to hold talks with the agitators to end the stir, he said.
K Kunhiraman (CPI-M), who sought to move the motion, said there was an “attempt” by manufacturers of endosulfan pesticide to portrait the agitators as “anti-national people”. He wanted the government to take a serious note of the situation and rectify the anomalies in the implementation of various schemes and extending medical facilities.
Intervening on the issue, CPI-M leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan pointed out that even after the government banned the use of endosulfan pesticide 12 years ago “children are born with deformity to couples living in the areas where the pesticide was sprayed”.
Expressing concern over the plight of children, opposition leader V S Achuthanandan wanted the government to take urgent steps to extend relief to the victims and end the stir.
Endosulfan victims have been protesting as several persons in Kasaragod district face different types of health problems due to the pollution of the environment and water, among others, caused by the spraying of endosulfan in cashew farms in the district in 1990s.