Mothers with their endosulfan-hit children staged a 'dharna' in front of the Secretariat here demanding speedy disbursal of compensation and implementation of the rehabilitation package.
At least 300 members of the endosulfan-affected children reached the state capital this morning from Kasaragod, the northernmost district, to participate in the token protest. Social activist Daya Bai inaugurated the sit-in protest along with former minister and CPI leader, Binoy Vishwam. Those identified as victims in the medical camps should also find a place in the beneficiary list, they said adding if the Kerala government fails to find a solution, an indefinite agitation would be launched from March 15.
The Supreme Court had in January last year directed the state government to disburse compensation and rehabilitation package for endosulfan pesticide victims within 3 months. A bench headed by then Chief Justice J S Khehar had ordered the government to provide a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of persons who died following exposure to the pesticide and those who became bed-ridden or mentally-challenged.
The order had been passed on a petition by CPI(M)'s youth wing Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) seeking country-wide ban on sale and production of endosulfan in its present form or any other derivative in the market. Endosulfan, an off-patent organochlorine insecticide and acaricide, was used widely on crops like cashew, cotton, tea, paddy, fruits and others until 2011, when the Supreme Court banned its production and distribution.
The health effects of the chemical include neurotoxicity, late sexual maturity, physical deformities, poisoning among others.