Compensation for endosulfan victims, State to move court

NewIndPress.com, October 5, 2006
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Eight-month-old Sainaba suffers from hydocephalus. A minimum of a dozen Kasaragod villages have thousands of poor villagers of all age groups suffering from various incurable ailments as a result of endosulfan spraying on cashew plantations
T’PURAM: The State Government has decided to approach the court demanding compensation for the victims of Endosulfan, an organochlorine pesticide used by the Plantation Corporation of Kerala (PCK) on its 4,500-acre cashew plantation in Kasargod.
Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, during the post-cabinet briefing here on Wednesday, said that legal experts would be consulted before the government goes ahead with the Bhopal-model litigation.
The Madhya Pradesh Government had earlier successfully, though belatedly, secured compensation for nearly 4,000 victims of the Bhopal Gas tragedy from Union Carbide India.
Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan was in the forefront of the struggle against the use of Endosulfan in the cashew farms of Kasargod.
The aerial spraying of Endosulfan by PCK on its estates is held up as the cause for a number of cancer deaths and other congenital neurological diseases in the villages near the cashew plantations. Endosulfan is banned in Singapore, Denmark, Holland and Sweden.
LOTTERY SCHEME: It has been decided to issue a special lottery and use the money generated to replenish the Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund.
The Chief Minister said that the Rs 10-crore left in the CM’s Relief Fund was almost over after the Rs 50,000 compensation given to the 549 families of farmers who committed suicide and 135 victims of Endosulfan poisoning.
From Farmedia.org, Bulletin 14
Bovikkana is in Muliyar Panchayath (Kasaragod Taluk and same district). A local sports and Arts Club, Punchiri has conducted a survey of 40 houses in the village. There are about 156 persons living in these houses. Out of these 39 were found to be seriously ill.
Disorder / # of cases
Swelling in Chest 2
Mentally Retarded 8
Persons with Mental Retardation & Born handicapped 6
Psoriasis 2
Psychiatry 3
Gynaec problems 6
Goiter 1
Problem in Oral region 1
Sterility 5
Hydrocephalus 1
Born Handicapped 4
Total 39
Mr. K.B. Mohammad, Club President, says, “There will be hundreds of such cases in and around Bovikkana. But you need to conduct an in-depth, house-to-house survey to bring this to light. Ours was a pilot survey. We selected only some areas that is very close to the cashew plantations.” In fact in some of these areas, cashew tree population is extremely less (there are more houses than cashew trees), and the human dwellings are so close to the plantation. Such areas should have been no-spray zones. There are 8 schools in the vicinity of Plantation Corporation of Kerala’s cashew plantation. No survey has been done here. The State Government�s health department has to conduct a medical survey by multi-disciplinary team immediately.
Rajapuram is in Hosdurg Taluk of Kasaragod District. PCK has 248 hectares of cashew plantation in the village. Here, in the houses very close to plantations (25 to 200 metres), in the last three years, 10 persons have died of cancer. Age group of the dead is 18 to 78. Soyal, who was a student at the seminary, Kottayam is the youngest (18) to die on 14th May 1999. A PCK labourer, Annamma (39), wife of Jose Karuplakal, who had been working with PCK since two decades, breathed her last on July 7, 1999, due to Cancer. Chedikund John (50) and his elder brother Maththayi (60) are among the other cancer victims of this area. This may only be a tip of the iceberg. Reports are coming forward from villages like Nettanige, Karadka etc., about different kinds of diseases. If the available information is any indication, a minimum of a dozen Kasaragod villages will have thousands of poor villagers of all age groups suffering from various incurable ailments – without knowing its cause and being helpless about it!
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Sabeena has a big swelling under her left armpit which every now again causes her pain

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