Third Letter From Endosulfan Victims
By Sisters Of Kasargod
30 March, 2013
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.
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.
Sisters of Kasargod
March 28th, 2013
Anitha.S ( firstname.lastname@example.org) in conversation with the people of Kasargod.
For details contact : Ambalathara Kunhikrishnan: 08547654654.
M.A.Rahman : 09048576384.
For updates in English contact Amruth : 09400930968
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