Kerala wants Rs 200crore central share to meet endosulfan relief

Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018,12:31 IST By anju A A A

Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking Rs 200.3 crore as central share to give compensation to the endosulfan victims as directed by the Supreme Court and the National Human Rights Commission.

In the letter, Vijayan requested the Centre to bear 50 per cent of the total amount, comprising the compensation and the pension, to be disbursed among the victims of the deadly pesticide in the state.

Thousands have been affected over a dozen panchayats in northern Kasaragod district due to aerial spraying of the endosulfan pesticide in plantations of Kerala Cashew Corporation two decades ago.

Expert studies have said that endosulfan, which is not easily degradable, contaminated the soil and water in many villages there and found its way into the food chain, affecting lower and higher forms of life, including humans.

“The relief amount, ordered by the apex court and the NHRC, would cause an additional burden to the tune of Rs 349 crore to the state exchequer,” Vijayan said in the letter.

The Centre may allot Rs 200.3 crore to meet the the relief amount and pension for five years, he said.

The state had submitted to the Centre Rs 483 crore package to help endosulfan victims in the year 2012.

Though two letters had also been sent to the Prime Minister last year seeking financial aid, no favourable decision was taken so far, the letter said.

Detailing various steps taken by the state government, the chief minister said Rs five lakh was given as relief amount to each family of the victims who died following exposure to the pesticide and those who became bed-ridden or mentally challenged.

Rs three lakh each was disbursed among those who suffer from other physical difficulties, he said adding that a monthly pension was also being given to 4,376 victims.

Vijayan said the financial aid, sanctioned under the National Health Mission, for the last six years was nominal.

He also wanted the urgent intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give directions to the concerned departments to allot necessary financial aid to the endosulfan victims.

Over 300 women with their endosulfan-hit children had staged a dharna in front of the Secretariat here demanding speedy disbursal of compensation and implementation of the rehabilitation package on January 30.

They had said that if the state government fails to find a solution, an indefinite agitation would be launched from next month.