One of the groups campaigning for banning endosulfan has claimed that Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has taken serious note of the human casualty and assured that he would explore the possibility of using Centre’s fund for relief. PV Mohan, convenor of Social Action Group of Empowerment (SAGE), said Azad replied to the organisation’s appeal and assured that he would work towards two things: ensuring that the victims get financial relief and concrete action is taken to check the use of endosulfan.
Mohan said Azad and Rajya Sabha MP Oscar Fernandes went through SAGE’s fact-finding report and expressed shock upon learning there are as many as 6,000-odd people—most of them children—in 92 villages in Dakshina Kannada. He claimed even now, children are being born with disabilities in some parts of the district. He said Azad expressed exasperation at the neglect the state government has shown towards such a human tragedy and asked state Congress leaders to raise the issue on the floor of the assembly. Quoting Azad, Mohan said opposition leader in the assembly Siddaramaiah and senior leaders like VS Ugrappa would be requested to raise the issue.
Further, Mohan said that upon enquiring with the state government, SAGE learnt that the state government had not sought Centre’s help regarding the endosulfan issue, which is a grave lapse. Anti-endosulfan activist from Puttur, Peer Mohammad, told DNA that the district administration’s survey took note of only those people whose limbs were mutilated owing to endosulfan. It left out those who are suffering from other disorders, like organ failure, mental disabilities, heart problems, lung problems, skin problems and other. He said anti-endosulfan activists have compiled quotes of medical experts, which state that endosulfan causes more than 120 health-related problems. He said that the pesticide affects even the blood in the umbilical cord of a pregnant woman, which results in limb mutilation in the embryo stage.
The Supreme Court is set to hear a case on November 20 to decide if the use of endosulfan should be completely banned in the country.