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Antony's claim on Endosulfan contested

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, JAN. 11. The Leader of the Opposition, V. S. Achuthanandan, has accused the Chief Minister, A. K. Antony, of fooling the people by claiming that a ban on use of Endosulfan, the insecticide which has allegedly wrought havoc in Kasaragod district, is in force in the State and that it would continue.

In a statement here today, Mr. Achuthanandan said the Chief Minister's statement meant little because the Agriculture Secretary had lifted the ban on use of Endosulfan through an order issued on February 18, 2002. Only spraying of the chemical insecticide from air has been banned in the State. Still there was no ban on use of the chemical on the ground, it was being done in the cashew plantations of the Plantation Corporation of Kerala in Kasaragod, he said.

The dangers of Endosulfan use had come to light in August 2001. When the health hazards posed by the chemical insectide became a matter of wide public interest, the Government banned its use effective from August 25, 2001. Several studies done at the international, national and State level had shown that Endosulfan caused diseases such as cancer and led to genetic disorders. He had himself raised the issue in the Assembly when hundreds of persons were found to have died of cancer caused by the insecticide. What the Government should have done was to impose a total ban on use of the insecticide, but that was not the case in the State, Mr. Achuthanandan said.

He appealed to the Chief Minister to immediately revoke the Government order revoking the ban on use of Endosulfan. If this was not done, one would have to assume that the Chief Minister was trying to hoodwink Keralites, including hundreds of persons in Kasaragod who had fallen prey to Endosulfan, Mr. Achuthanandan said.

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