Sisters of Kasagod write on indefinite fast by the Endosulphan victims


Third Letter From Endosulfan Victims

By Sisters Of Kasargod

30 March, 2013
Countercurrents.org

Dear Friends

This is the third letter that we are writing to you in the past month.We know that many of you got together in your areas in support of our struggle for justice and life, wrote letters, signed memorandums and thought and prayed for us. At this important juncture in our life, we need all of you with us as we are attempting to get back to Life.

So much has happened in the past few days. The indefinite fast and strike in support of the Endosulfan victims by the Endosulfan Victims Janakekya Munnani (EPJM) crossed a month the other day. Fortunately, the discussions by the Government about our fate which took place on March 25th in Trivandrum yielded some positive results that led to the withdrawal of the fast. But we understand that we have to remain alert and our representatives and each one of us have to be on the guard, demanding and insistent. We cannot let the authorities and Government relax in any way and we have to be acutely aware of where all the offers made can be thwarted.
As you know we had submitted a detailed memorandum to the Government on 21st March when we were called for discussion. The major issues in focus were :

1.To review the decision to give aid and help for just 5 years by the Government
2.To include all deserving people in the list which is now incomplete
3. Implement all the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission
4.Constitute a Tribunal for Compensation and Identification of the Real culprits
5.The debt load of the affected people be taken by the Government
6. To design a scientific rehabilitation program for the affected region
7To remove and detoxify the endosulfan reserves still remaining in the godowns.

The answers given to us by the Government are the following:
1To appoint a Committee to examine the question of a Tribunal to provide compensation for the victims, taking into consideration the liability of the pesticide companies also.

2. Setting up a 3 member Committee ( Kasargod District Collector, Joint Registrar of Cooperatives, Kasargod, and Special Officer in charge of Remediation of Endodulfan victims) to study the demand of waiver of bank loans by victims or their families.

3 Renewal and addition of list of beneficiaries identified by the National Human Rights Commission through new medical camps and examination by an expert team of doctors. In this the number of persons with cancer would be included making the list a total of 2295. The examining of the persons to know if they fulfilled the criteria for compensation recommended by NHRC would not exempt others from receiving the State Government assistance, the number being 5500.

4.The order that indicated that victims would get an assistance for only 5 years would be cancelled. The compensation amount of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of dead victims ( 600 persons paid so far) would be reached to the remaining 134 once the succession certificates are produced.

5.The victims are now getting free rations, free treatment and a monthly pension which would be enhanced from Rs 400- Rs 700 a month.

6.To the newly added list of fresh victims identified as Endosulfan affected last year ( 1318) a fresh medical examination would be conducted by a team of doctors soon.

7. The 11 panchayats identified as Endosulfan affected will be reviewed and more Panchayats and areas outside this will be included where there has been impact of the pesticide.

8. 12 more hospitals will be added to the list of hospitals in Mangalore, Manipal and other parts of Kerala where victims can get free medical care.

9.The Social Welfare Department would pay an additional amount of Rs 1500 per month as compensation to the staff of seven Buds school caring for the mentally challenged children in the region. Ambulances will be provided in all the 11 panchayats.

Though it is a relief that the Government has considered the gamut of issues and concerns of us living in the affected area with our poisoned bodies, we are anxious about the implementation part, the delays and loopholes, the snags and pitfalls.

We request each one of you to stay alert and follow up in your own capacity each of the above promises. We need to build up all pressure so that we can avail of all assistance possible.We want to get out of the victim mode and reinstate a semblance of normalcy in our lives..so our children start smiling, walking, holding and feeling human inspite of all their challenges and incapacities.

In anticipation
Sisters of Kasargod
March 28th, 2013

Anitha.S ( catastrophe64@gmail.com) in conversation with the people of Kasargod.
For details contact : Ambalathara Kunhikrishnan: 08547654654.
M.A.Rahman : 09048576384.
For updates in English contact Amruth : 09400930968

 

#India- Indefinite fast by Victims of Endosulfan and solidarity Actions #mustshare


March 17, 2013

Mohankumar, well known environmental activist, is on the 15 th day of indefinite fasting demanding that  Govt of Kerala should comply with the relief and rehabilitation programme for endosulfan victims over 11+ panchayats in Kasargod district , as recommended by the NHRC .
People from all walks of life and from different parts of Kerala have so far visited the sathyagraha pandal near new bus stand, Kasargode . The sathyagraha is organized by the Endosulfan Peeditha Janakeeya Munnani (peoples front for the endosulfan affected) and started on 18th February with Pulloor Krishnan and Subhash Cheemeni beginning the hunger strike. After they were arrested by the police using force , Dr D Surendranath took over on 26th Feb, who was also arrested and forcefully removed by the police on March 2.
The govt should immediately talk with Endosulfan Peeditha Janakeeya Munnani and should meet their just demands .
The Government of Kerala should note that its continuing arrogance , even after years of struggle by the endosulfan survivors and victims and in the face of grave threat to the life of of A Mohankumar after 15 days of fasting , is anything but a minimum sensitivity to peoples will and democratic protests.

Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan on 14Th march  said it was appalling that the State government did not recognise infants and children with genetic deficiencies in endosulfan affected regions as victims of the unregulated use of the pesticide.

Speaking at a meeting to support the indefinite fast by endosulfan victims scheduled to commence here soon, Mr. Achuthanandan said the ruling front had cut down the number of beneficiaries of the endosulfan relief scheme from 4,182 to 1,613.

He said the State and Union governments had conspired to undermine the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission to alleviate the plight of endosulfan victims.

The government had agreed in principle that the population in 27 panchayats and three municipalities were severely affected by the pesticide. However, it limited financial aid to 11 of the affected panchayats. The Union government had overturned the previous Left Democratic Front government’s pension scheme for the victims, by limiting it to five years. Mr. Achuthanandan urged civil society in the country to support the cause of the hapless victims.

Human rights activist B.R.P. Bhaskar was present.

 

 

NAPM expresses solidarity with anti-Endosulfan fast:Demands immediate justice

We express full solidarity with the indefinite fast being undertaken at Kasargod Kerala, seeking justice for the Endosulfan victims. We are deeply concerned and angered by the state government’s neglect of the plight of the victims, especially women, children and aged, for whom neither preventive nor curative health care measures are being effectively undertaken. There are ample amounts of physical and scientific evidence available of the dangerous impacts of Endosulfan, a highly toxic organochlorine pesticide on human and other beings.

We condemn the attitude of Oomenchandy Government, which, despite, full knowledge of the serious situation and in spite of requests from the people and their organizations has not responded in an adequate manner nor has it they taken any legal and punitive action against the authorities concerned and the industries who have been involved in a criminal way. We express our deep concerns for those fasting including Mohan-ji, as the fast has reached its 25th days and shall squarely hold the Government responsible for the health and safety of those on fast.  We believe that the Government is fully liable for the irreversible damages to populace not just at Kasargod, but also Idukki, Palakkad, Dakshin Kannada, Kodagu and Udupi.

We demand reparation from the government and criminal action against the pesticides companies. We are of the firm opinion that the life of citizens and the natural resources of this country are far more important than the profits which companies will make at our cost.

We also demand immediate justice to the thousands of families who have lost their dear ones due to Endosulphan spray and seek immediate government intervention for complete health care of thousands others who continue to suffer due to severe physical and mental deformities. We condemn the rabid advocacy of business interests over people’s interest and demand a complete ban on the use of Endosulfan and other such pesticides.

We express our deep anguish at the attitude of both the Central and State Governments, the Corporations who are responsible for the creation of irreparable and serious health disorders on our population and support the demands of the Endosulfan Protest Action Committee, Kasargod (Endosulfan Virudha Samara Samithi), including:

1.      A permanent ban on Endosulfan all over the country.

2.      Proper relief, rehabilitation and compensation to all the survivors of Endosulfan.

3.      Severe legal action including criminal prosecution of the corporates, central and state government authorities who were responsible for causing & continuing to cause irreversible health disaster on the victims & their families ,

4.      A complete review and assessment on the use of chemical pesticides in India by unbiased researchers.

5.      A permanent ban of all dangerous chemical pesticides which are already banned in other countries & which have a potential of serious public health & ecological disasters, issues of Safety & Bio-safety be given priority over commercial interest.Medha Patkar            C. R. Neelakandan      Krishnakant   Madhuresh      Seela      Meera Contact: 09423965153 | 09818905316

For the past 4 decades people in Kasargod have suffered from heinous use of pesticide Endosulfan, which was continuously used on the cashew plantation by the Plantation Corporation of Kerala. This aerially sprayed pesticide has poisoned the water, the air and the soil for generations to come.

One of the most toxic pesticides on the market today, Endosulfan is responsible for many fatal pesticide poisoning incidents around the world. In Kasargod, more than 3000 people living near, downstream and downwind of the estate were affected by debilitating rare diseases like mental retardation, cerebral palsy, cancer etc.

While the use of Endosulfan was banned in 2011, people are struggling for justice. For the past fortnight, people are on indefinite fast in Kasargod demanding:

1. To review the decision to give aid and help for just 5 years by the Government

2. To include all deserving people in the list which is still incomplete

3. Implement all the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission

4. Constitute a Tribunal for Compensation and Identification of the Real culprits

5. The debt load of the affected people be taken by the Government

6. To design a scientific rehabilitation program for the affected region

7. To remove and detoxify the Endosulfan reserves still remaining in the godowns.

8. To plan a proper Natural farming policy phasing out all toxic pesticides that kill, maim and contaminate soil, food and human bodies.

Organisations in Kerala have given a solidarity call for action on March 18, and Delhi Solidarity Group is planning the same in front of the Kerala House, Jantar Mantar, New Delhi on the same day at 2pm in support of the ongoing indefinite fast and for the genuine demands of the people.

EXPRESS YOUR SOLIDARITY WITH YOUR PRESENCE.

 

When battered people took on the pesticide industry #Endolsulphan


Author(s): Sunita Narain, Down to Earth
Date: Aug 15, 2012

English: Sunita Narain director, Centre for Sc...

English: Sunita Narain director, Centre for Science and Environment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I want to tell you a true story of extraordinary courage. The past week, I was in Kasaragod, a district in Kerala, splendid in beauty and with abundant natural resources, but destroyed by the toxic chemical, endosulfan. The pesticide was aerially sprayed over cashew plantations, for some 20 years, in complete disregard of the fact that there is no demarcation between plantations and human habitation in this area. It is also a high rainfall region and so, the sprayed pesticide leached into the ground and flowed downstream. The poison contaminated water, food and ultimately harmed human beings.

This story is known. But the personal battles that make up the story of this poisoned land and its diseased people are not known. More importantly, it is not asked where this story ends?

Leelakumari Amma is the original heroine of this plot. In early 1990s, she came to Kasaragod, ironically, as an agriculture scientist, whose job was to push farmers to use pesticides. Her brother died mysteriously while she was building her house. But she did not connect the dots and moved in, only to realise that the pesticide spray was poisoning her land and water. Fish she put in her well died. She could not open the windows of her house for days when the helicopter sprayed poison. It seemed a thick cloud was hanging over her house. She could not breathe and worried about her children. Then she noticed that many people living close to her seemed diseased— children were born with deformities and severe neurological problems afflicted people.

Leelakumari Amma petitioned for help. But received threats from the Plantation Corporation of Kerala (PCK)—the public sector company, which owned the cashew lands. In 1998, she filed a case in the local court. The threats became more venomous. But she did not give up. In 2000, the court ordered an interim ban on spraying. Some months later, the vehicle she was travelling in was hit by a truck. Leelakumari Amma lost a leg. She told me that this was an accident. Maybe, but then maybe not.

About this time, Mohana Kumar, a doctor practicing in a neighbouring village, wrote to the medical fraternity about the incidences of abnormality and deformities, but got nowhere. Shree Padre, a freelance journalist of the area, also decided to write explaining the plight of people. His email reached Anil Agarwal, director of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), who decided in mid-2000, to send a team to investigate and collect water, soil and blood samples. The results showed high levels of endosulfan—proving what was only suspected till then. The question, still, was what this meant for human health?

The pesticide industry hit back. It first hired a laboratory to ‘clean up’ the results. When this failed, it decided to hurt the storytellers. Mohana Kumar was served legal notices—so many he cannot even count. But hope was not dead. In 2001, the National Human Rights Commission intervened and asked the Indian Council of Medical Research for a detailed report. Scientists from the Ahmedabad-based National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) analysed blood samples for pesticides and concluded there was significantly higher incidence of abnormalities and diseases in populations exposed to endosulfan as compared to the control population. Endosulfan’s effect on humans was established.

This study was even more inconvenient to industry. The investigators were attacked and vilified. A case was filed against the key scientist, Aruna Dewan, the day she retired from government service. The Centre set up committee after committee, headed by ‘eminent’ scientists to debunk the CSE and NIOH reports. This was fought back, at considerable personal cost. Thanal, a Kerala-based NGO, plays a critical role in research and campaign against pesticide industry smear and smut. This battle has not been easy. Over the past 10 years, industry has made it a habit to attack all research and threaten all scientists.

As a result, it has taken over 15 years for the truth to be known. Currently, the Kerala government’s ban on endosulfan prevails. Last year, the Supreme Court banned manufacture and use of the pesticide in the country. The state has accepted the need to provide compensation to ‘endosulfan victims’. A part of the compensation money will be paid by the PCK. Liability has been established.

Much more remains to be done—from rehabilitating the living to providing specialised health care to the very ill. Also cleansing traces of endosulfan in Kasaragod’s soil, and taking the district towards organic farming. The stigma of pesticide contamination has to be wiped clean.

This will happen. I am sure. In the Buds school—seven special schools for endosulfan victims opened by the district administration—I saw signs of hope. Some 27 children from Padre and Perle village are enrolled there. I saw their teacher hold their hands, teach them how to smile, as they counted and drew flowers. Their laughter filled the room. The physiotherapist told me he was working hard to make sure these special needs children could walk. A few steps today, maybe more tomorrow.

Pesticides And ToxinsEditor’s PageAnil AgarwalCashew NutCompensationCourt,CSEEndosulfanGenetic DisordersHealth EffectsKasaragod (D)keralaLand pollutionPadre VillagePesticide IndustryPesticide ResiduesPesticide UsePesticides And ToxinsSunita NarainWater Pollution

INDIA-Withdraw #ENDOSULPHAN completely #rightolive


Ban Endosulphan

The Centre has sought the Supreme Court’s permission to use the available stock of banned pesticide endosulfan for agricultural purpose on the ground that incinerating it would cost the exchequer Rs 210 crore. The agriculture ministry also referred to a report of the Combined Expert Committee on Endosulfan, constituted on the apex court‘s direction, to say that 18 other states, other than Kerala and Karnataka, favored use of the banned pesticide as it was cheap. Labelling and limiting the endosulfan issue as a regional problem and the Central Government’s decision to give a clean chit to endosulfan is a violation of people’s right to live.

This new plea by the government is completely biased toward manufacturers. This will pave way for the production and sale of the deadly pesticide once again The affidavit says Endosulphan pesticide was “safe to pollinators without any ill-effects on human beings, animals and environment”, are you joking ? The Stockholm Convention, a global treaty to protect health and environment has also declared Endosulfan as a persistent pollutant It is a .highly toxic pesticide that accumulates in the food chain and in humans, travels long distances, and breaks down very slowly in the environment.Last year, India joined the list of 73 countries that have banned the use of this pesticide. The use of Endosulfan in Kerala has brought only misery to people living in Kasaragod and some districts of Karnataka. Nearly 500 people lost their lives due to excess use of the pesticide in cashew plantations in Kasaragod. The Centre should look into these aspects before allowing its usage once again,It is time that the government recognizes the need to make efforts towards moving to non-chemical alternatives of Endosulfan.

1.The government should  immediately withdrawsthe affidavit in the Supreme court and should not allow its production as the Stockholm convention, a global treaty , India is also a party , to protect health and environment, had declared endosulfan as a persistent pollutant.

2.Destroy the available stock of endosulfan using non-combustible technology that will not pollute the environment. The higher cost for using such technology should not be seen as a hindrance as there is a larger social and environmental cost involved here .

3.Ensure compensation and rehabilitation for the survivors in Kerala and Karnataka

4.Withdraw Endosulphan completely., as per the Stockholm convention

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