Centre seeks states' views on endosulfan ban

Centre seeks states' views on endosulfan ban

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who held meetings with top officials and Food Minister K V Thomas in this regard for the past two days, is said to have decided to seek the states’ opinion to get a national-level consensus before taking any decision.

However, the prime minister is understood to be of the view that if the states want to go ahead with the ban they can do so and that will not be opposed by the Centre.
However, the prime minister reportedly said that the government needs to be convinced that the pesticide is harmful to health before imposing an all-India ban on endosulfan.

Harmful effects
The prime minister has also asked the Indian Council for Medical Research, which is presently examining the harmful effects of endosulfan on the health of the people, to expedite the study.

The prime minister also sought details about the availability of an alternative pesticide which can be given to farmers in case a ban is imposed on endosulfan.

On the rehabilitation of people, who have been suffering allegedly due to health hazards, including cancer and autism, the Centre may ask the states to submit their compressive package seeking financial grants.

Cheapest brands
According to government sources, endosulfan is one of the cheapest brands of pesticide that farmers use in horticulture crops, which is widely used across the country with West Bengal being the largest consumer followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Now, 9,500 tonnes of this pesticide is being produced in India, 3,500 tonnes being manufactured by four public sector companies and rest by private companies. Of the total endosulfan produced in India, 50 per cent of products is exported, mainly to China, and the rest domestically used.

While the Kerala government banned the pesticide in 2006, Karnataka imposed the ban for 60 days from February 17. Both states have imposed ban mainly due to complaints of health hazards.

When the demand for the imposition of an all-India ban on this pesticide came from Kerala in 2006, the Centre had sought the opinion from all the states during same year. However, except Kerala, none of the states had favoured a ban. 

The Gujarat Government has opposed any move by the Centre to impose a ban on endosulfan. Chief Minister Narendra Modi in his letter to the prime minister claimed that the state government had conducted a detailed scientific study about the allegation of health hazards due to this pesticide in various places in the state. Nothing has been proved, said in the letter. The Gujarat government had also sent a copy of its study report to the prime minister.

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