HC tells govts to act against endosulfan

 The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday directed the Central and state governments to act against “endosulfan poisoning” in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts as the pesticide was wreaking havoc on many families there

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A division bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna, hearing a suo motu petition, observed that the endosulfan chemical had ruined “generations.” The court pointed out that a mother wanted her endosulfan-affected child to die as she thought there would not be anyone to look after it, in case of her death first. Such instances depicted the gravity of the situation.

State government advocate Ravindra Kolle likened the endosulfan-induced health problems to those of the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy.  The endosulfan manufacturers too should be held liable to pay compensation to the victims.  He said manufacturers resorted to selling the pesticide under a different brand name, following the ban on endosulfan.

“It is the same content in a different name. The manufacturers continue to use the chemical despite objections,” he said.

The court also asked the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, State Department of Forest, Ecology and Environment and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board to file their affidavits in response to the petition.

Writ petition

The matter was taken up by the court after Justice Manjunath recently wrote to the Chief Justice that many people were afflicted with physical disabilities and mental retardation owing to the spraying of endosulfan as a pesticide in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. Justice Manjunath wanted his letter to be treated as a writ petition.

On October 12,the Bench ordered issue of notices to the Centre and the State Forest department for failing to mitigate the plight of several endosulfan victims.

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