Endosulfan victims demand release of monthly pension

Endosulfan victims demand release of monthly pension

The endosulfan victims staged a protest in front of Deputy Commissioner’s office on Monday, criticising the delay in payment of monthly pension.

Addressing the protesters, Endo Virodhi Horata Samithi president Sridhar Gowda said the payment of monthly pension of Rs 3,000 (for those with 60 per cent or more disability) and Rs 1,500 (for those with disability between 25 and 60 per cent) was one of the benefits promised to the High Court by State government.

The monthly pension was paid separately by the health department and revenue department last year. However, since April, the State government decided to pay the pension through the Directorate of Social Security and Pensions. In spite of it, pension from the health department is pending for the last four months and from revenue department it is pending for the last two months, he said.

He said that the High Court in its order had directed the State government to pay the monthly pension and to provide suitable treatment to the victims. Unfortunately, the court order has not been implemented in the three coastal districts.

He said the State government had stopped the process of identification of victims of endosulfan pesticide since March 2015. In fact, the experts have opined that the endosulfan pesticide was set to affect five more generations of people. “In such a scenario, who will screen the newly born children and what will happen to them if they are born with physical and mental deformities?” he asked.

Gowda said that specialist doctors were not attending the monthly medical camps organised in different parts of the district. Instead, postgraduate medical students were treating people attending the camp. A petition narrating all these problems has been filed with the District Legal Services Authority. The Authority has promised to look into the issue, he said.

The promise of permanent rehabilitation centre for the endosulfan victims and mobile health clinic have also remained on paper.

Gowda has urged the Deputy Commissioner A B Ibrahim, District in-Charge Minister Ramanath Rai and Health Minister U T Khader to stay in the house of the victims for a day to understand their problems. He warned of picketing the Vidhana Soudha if the demands were not fulfilled within a month.

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind president Muhisir said that bus passes should be distributed among the endosulfan victims and family members.

A victim said that in spite of possessing a bus pass issued by the department, the bus conductors harassed them.

In a memorandum to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, the victims urged the government to release the pension and take measures to upgrade the Kokkada PHC to community hospital. The endosulfan victims should be given a compensation of Rs five lakh. The service of a staff nurse should be given to the bed ridden endosulfan victims. The government should distribute nutritious food to the victims. The monthly health camp conducted by the health department should provide necessary medicines to the victims. A skill development training centre should be opened in the day care centre for the victims.

Three more day care centres should be opened in Dakshina Kannada. A website furnishing complete details on the endosulfan victims should be developed, the memorandum stated.

DC clarifies
In a press release, Deputy Commissioner A B Ibrahim said that the health department had paid pension to the 2,639 eligible endosulfan victims till June. From July, measures have been taken to pay the pension through the revenue department. Barring a technical glitch in the bank account numbers of 368 beneficiaries, the pension has been credited into the account of the victims for the month of July.

Accordingly, all the victims in Puttur taluk have received the amount. The pension for the month of August in other taluks will be paid at the earliest, the DC added.

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