Foundation seeks clarity on 60 pc disability criterion for Endo victims

Human Rights Foundation, Udupi President Dr Ravindranath Shanbhag has said that a clarification from High Court is necessary pertaining to the 60 per cent disability criterion for endosulfan victims.

Speaking at a workshop organised on the endosulfan disaster, the social activist said that though there are certain standards to identify the victims, the criteria of 60 per cent disability has been treated differently in various districts.

The pension scheme offered to the victims is categorised as those having less than 25 per cent disability, 25 to 60 per cent disability and above 60 per cent disability. Those having disability above 60 per cent are entitled to get a monthly pension of Rs 3,000. But in some districts, victims with a disability between 25 to 60 per cent are getting Rs 3,000 and in some districts the amount had been confined to third category victims only.

These difference are according to the divergent perceptions of the respective DHOs. Hence, the High Court should clarify whether 60 per cent disability belongs to upper or lower category, sought Dr Shanbhag.

‘Deliberate denials’

Alleging that there are possibilities of deliberate attempts to categorise victims below 60 per cent so as to deny higher pension, Shanbhag said many a times the medical camps certify 55 per cent disability to the same victim who was certified 80 per cent disability in private hospitals. Also, the officials in the medical camp are reluctant to make changes when the victims get the fresh evidences of disability, flayed Shanbhag.

 There are more than 2000 children suffering in Udupi and Uttara Kannada district, of which nearly 95 per cent have approached private clinics. However, it is only after 2010, the doctors in this part realised the implications of endosulfan. He said the awareness of endosulfan prior to 2010 was absolutely nil among the medical fraternity.
Already two in Udupi and eight in Uttar Kannada have died without receiving any compensation.

Benefit of doubt to victim

He said the health and revenue departments have their own differences in identifying and disbursing compensation to the victims. The health department certifies that the tragedy occurred in the aftermath of 1980, wherein the spray of endosulfan was taken up. But the revenue department has been strictly abiding by the guidelines put forth by the government.

The confusions have led to the victims being deprived of their compensation package. In any case, the benefit of the doubt should he given to the victim, Shanbhag urged. He lambasted the government for not counting the affected people living in and around the area where endosulfan sprayed, as victims. He expressed doubt that if the government resorts to bio-marker as a benchmark to identify the victims, it will take minimum four years to become a reality. By the time, half  of the victims might die.

He added that he had taken up Kundapur taluk as the case study to appeal before the High Court to ensure the compensation package to the victims. Nearly 300 villages were visited as a part of the study.
  
The Human Rights Foundation President reasoned that the pains suffered by elders might be owing to endusulfan. Diseases like schizophrenia, anxiety disorder, skin disease and cancer are the health disorders found among elderly people following endosulfan effect.

However the government does not recognise those who are born prior to 1980 as victims. The issue is brought to the notice of the High court, he added.

Shanbhag slammed the attitude of Health Secretary for his reluctance to offer the compensation package to the parents who lost their kids owing to endosulfan.

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