NHRC to raise issue of harmful effect of pesticide in Kerala (Lead, Changing dateline)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

KASARGODE - National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chief K.G. Balakrishnan Saturday said that he will take up with the central government the seriousness of the impact of the use of pesticide endosulfan in Kerala villages.

“The matter is serious and would be brought to the attention of the centre. Just like the way in which the centre took up the issue of the cause of Bhopal victims, they will have to look into the problems of those who have been affected by the use of endosulfan,” said Balakrishnan.

He said this after meeting the victims who have been suffering on account of the use of endosulfan here.

The pesticide is blamed for cases of children born with neurobehavioral disorders, congenital malformations and other abnormalities.

The use of endosulfan at the estates of state-owned Plantation Corporation of Kerala (PCK) in Kasargode district began in the early 1970s and continued till 2001.

About 500 deaths since 1995 have been officially acknowledged as related to the spraying of endosulfan in about 11 villages. Unofficial estimates put the deaths since the late 1970s at around 4,000.

“There is a case here for setting up of specialty hospitals to treat the victims. Instead of playing the blame game, political parties here should work together for the victims. A special package has to be there for children who have become victims,” said Balakrishnan.

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