Kasargod to get rehab centre for Endo victims

It will provide vocational training, treatment, short stay for needy

The Kerala government has embarked upon an ambitious plan to set up a comprehensive and composite rehabilitation center for Endosulfan victims in Kasargod district.

The center will provide vocational training, treatment, rehabilitation and short stay for the Endo victims. “It's first of its kind of a rehabilitation center that we are planning. Though all physically and mentally challenged in the district can avail the facilities, it is exclusively meant for Endosulfan victims,” Deputy Collector of Kasargod, K Sudheer Babu, who is in charge of the Endosulfan victim relief and rehabilitation cell, told Deccan Herald.

For the purpose, the government has already acquired 25 acres of land in Muliyar and the entire cost is expected to be around Rs 25 crore. Though Dr Prabhakaran commission, which has been appointed by the State government to study and submit report on the backwardness of the district, has approved the project, funds have not been allotted, said Babu.

What prompted the government to go for a comprehensive rehabilitation center was the apprehension over the future of 5,500 Endo victims after the period of their kin who have been now taking care of their needs. “Who will take care of my Endo affected child?” is the disturbing question that mothers of Endo affected areas have been asking since long. “This concern forced us to take a decision on the rehabilitation center with all facilities.

Though a rehabilitation center for differently abled persons is being contemplated in all districts, Kasargod will have a sophisticated and full fledged one for Endo victims,” he assured.

NABARD project

Apart from the rehabilitation center, works worth Rs 200 crore under NABARD is also in the pipeline in Kasargod as part of the rehabilitation measures for Endo victims. Providing uninterrupted drinking water supply and construction of new buildings for PHCs, Anganawadis and buds schools are the work planned using NABARD funds. Six out of the seven buds schools in the district are functioning in the 11 Endo affected panchayats. The tender for the works now has been invited.

'Let them implement'

However, anti-Endosulfan activists of Kasargod have been following a wait and watch policy towards government announcements. “Let them first implement it whatever they are announcing. We can't buy official arguments unless it has been materialised,” was the response of Narayanan Periya, an activist and member of the Rehabilitation cell.

Activists and NGOs of Kasargod have bitter experience from the government in the past regarding implementing welfare measures for Endo victims. “Last year, Health and Family Welfare department issued a circular under cover to stop giving monthly pension to victims after five years. They never acknowledge issuing such a circular and it's only when we went for protest, the government freezed that order,” pointed out Periya.

Activists allege that though the government has been claiming that 18 speciality hospitals are made available for victims for free treatment in Kerala and Karnataka, everything was not fine as in paper. “For instance, the government claims that KMC hospital, in Mangalore  and in Manipal; Little Flower Hospital at Ankamali are in the list. But till now no agreement have been signed between these hospitals and government.

Also lakhs of rupees are pending to be cleared in hospitals in Kerala for providing treatment to victims. If arrears soar, no hospital will be willing to continue the contract with government,” warns Narayanan Periya.

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