NHRC chief visits Kerala’s pesticide affected areas

Saturday, December 18, 2010

NEW DELHI - National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chief K.G. Balakrishnan Saturday visited the areas in Kerala affected by the spraying of the pesticide endosulfan and met the victims.

“There have been several representations of NGOs and victims who had come to the commission to seek help from the severe impact of endosulfan usage. The NHRC chief therefore decided to visit the affected area and take stock of the matter,” an NHRC official said here.

“He left for Kerala two days back to attend a university function on human rights and then went to Kasaragod today (Saturday) along with a four-member investigative delegation of the commission. The aim is to see the medical healthcare facilities in the area and if compensation is being provided to the victims,” the official told IANS.

“Once the team is back, there will be a brief submitted on the matter. The enormity of the problem will be assessed, but the issue of banning endosulfan does not come under the commission,” the official added.

On Nov 18, the NHRC, taking suo motu cognisance of the matter on the basis of a media report that alleged aerial spraying of the banned endosulfan was continuing in the state, had sought a reply from the central and Kerala government.

According to the NGO, Solidarity Endosulfan Rehabilitation Project, more than 3,000 people are affected by the pesticide in Kasaragod district alone. Victims suffer from ailments like skin cancer and genetic defects as a result of soil and water contamination by the spraying of endosulfan.

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