Endosulfan: LDF calls for statewide hartal on Friday

The hartal has been called coinciding with the concluding day of the international convention for a ban on persistent organic pollutants at Geneva.

"The hartal is in protest against the Centre not taking steps to ban the pesticide which has caused environmental and health hazards in Kerala", LDF Convener Vaikom Viswam told reporters here.

Usage of the pesticide in cashew plantations in Kasaragod district led to the death of more than 400 persons and chronic health problems among the local population numbering about 4000, he said.

The incidents in Kasaragod itself warranted a nationwide ban of the pesticide, he said.
LDF also asked the state government to take whatever steps it could do to stop production of endosulfan by a public sector undertaking in Kochi.

Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan undetook a day-long fast here yesterday along with peoples' representatives, political leaders, cultural figures and civil rights activists demanding a nationwide ban of the pesticide.

Endosulfan has been banned in Kerala since 2005 in view of the grievous ill-effects of its use in Kasaragod. The state has been pressing for a countrywide ban on the pesticide and wants the Centre to support relief and rehabilitation package for endosulfan victims.

An all-party team from Kerala had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi last week to press the demand.

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