Tag Archives: Endosulfan

Compensation for endosulfan victims, State to move court

NewIndPress.com, October 5, 2006
sainaba.jpg
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!
sabeena.jpg
Sabeena has a big swelling under her left armpit which every now again causes her pain

Chemical disaster hits Kerala, hundreds affected

Massive fire in the Hindustan Insecticides Limited Factory in Eloor, Kerala burns down Endosulfan plant. Hundreds of people living around face severe health problems.

This incident, which happened in the early hours of 6 July is nowhere mentioned in any of the major Indian or international news media. The Periyar Malineekarana Virudha Samithi (PMVS – Periyar River Anti-Pollution Committee) activist V. V. Purushan has just us sent this on-the-spot account.

“Eloor, Tuesday 6 July 2004. This morning at around 2 am a fire started in the Hindustan Insecticides Limited factory and within hours the whole endosulfan plant burnt down. Toxic gases and smoke spread all over Eloor, Pallipurachal and Chowka North End as well as to the Varapuzha Panchayath area, affecting hundreds of people. People living in the Pallipurachal area rushed to the Eloor Ferry and crossed the river in fear and helplessness. Many people were running with small babies to escape from the toxic smoke. It was by sheer luck that a major tragedy of casualties did not happen. From 2 o’clock onwards the people of Eloor North and Pallipurachal area were almost resigned to their fate and expecting tragedy to strike them, even as the factory continued to burn. The HIL management said that plant has not been badly affected and that only a small quantity of toluene, a little bit of endosulfan and some rubber sheets were burnt. Whatever company officials say, in the community people are suffering serious health problems. An 8-member doctors team has come to assess the situation and given immediate medical help under the Additional District Magistrate, who was the first senior official to reach the site, nearly 8 hours after the incident. About 200 people have been given initial medical assistance. One 16- year old girl has been admitted after she developed convulsions, chest pain and dizziness. Even as I am writing this, the doctors are continuing their check up (3.30 pm). We know and we are expecting serious long term health problems due to this disaster.”

The Eloor Industrial Area hosts about 250 industries of which there are more than a dozen large chemical factories. This particular factory the Hindustan Insecticides Limited has been in the eye of the storm for quite some time now. In 1999, Greenpeace surveyed and sampled the factory outskirts, especially a stream coming out of the factory into the community water body and the river and found 111 chemicals of which 39 were hazardous organochlorine compounds including DDT and metabolites, endosulfan and metabolites and their degradation products. This plant is the only plant in India which produces DDT (a persistent organic pollutant ) and endosulfan as well as dicofol.

In 2003, Greenpeace again conducted a study in the area and found that the community living in the area were badly affected and that the probabilities of falling ill with various diseases were much higher than normal control values. The community under the banner of the PMVS had been demanding the right to Information on the hazardous chemicals used, processed and manufactured by the factories in the area and has also been demanding that factories implement a disaster management plan and an emergency response system. All these demands have fallen on the dead ears of the Kerala State Pollution Control Board, the Factories & Boilers Department and the State Health & Industries Department. The industries in the area and their managements have been completely ignoring the community demands, as they know that local people are dependent on the factories and will not go over their heads to stop them. In the last three years there have been frequent gas leaks and accidents, especially from Merchem, a privately owned factory producing some fungicides and FACT, a major fertilizer company.

Eloor itself is situated in between the river and amidst factories and the 30,000 odd people living in the area has literally no way of escape except to jump into the river or get ferries (if they are the lucky ones ) if such incidents occur. Even in this case, while about 200 people could ferry across, more than double that number was stranded with their fate on the banks of the river. While more from the area is coming, we here are shocked because we understand that the thermal degradation products of Endosulfan , HCCP and Toluene could be highly corrosive and toxic HCl, Chlorine gases and Phosgene. It is also felt that burning of Organochlorine products could be producing Dioxins and Furans, which could make matters worse. More will be added as and when we receive news. And please do get back with whatever information or technical support that you can offer.

Offers of assistance to thanal@md4.vsnl.net.in

Warnings by Greenpeace ignored.Eloor population at high risk