Relief fund for endosulfan victims in next budget

Relief fund for endosulfan victims in next budget

Advocate General Ravivarma Kumar submitted to the High Court on Monday that a provision would be made in the next budget to create a ‘relief fund’ for the victims affected by pesticide endosulfan.

During the hearing of a suo motu PIL on the plight of people suffering from the ill effects of the use of the pesticide in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, the Advocate General admitted that mistakes had been committed and there was an urgent need to provide relief to the victims. He said he would submit a report to the court on the steps the government would take for the welfare of the victims in the next hearing on January 27.

The Advocate General also submitted to the court that medical facilities would be provided to the victims and ultrasound scanning machines made available at primary health centres to monitor a child’s growth in the mother’s womb. During the hearing, amicus curiae Vaishali Hegde argued that when she had visited a victim at a PHC, she was saddened at the lack of proper medical facilities for patients. She submitted that the PHC had only two beds and had no wheel chair or ambulance service. She recalled how a girl lost her eyesight due to the effects of endosulfan.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice B V Nagarathna observed that despite the situation being so grim, the government had not made any effort to provide relief to the victims. The Bench observed that many children born in the affected areas had some sort of deformity and were entirely dependent on their parents. The government should provide monthly relief to such families where even the parents are burdened.

The Bench said ultrasound scanning machines must be provided at the primary health centres catering to 35,000 pregnant women who can monitor the growth of their children and take precautionary measures in case the child is found to have some deformity. The Bench advised the government not to waste time discussing the matter, but take necessary action to provide relief to the victims.

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