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Affidavit refused to pay damages to pesticide victims
PCK affidavit has to conform to State policy: Minister
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State government on Friday decided to direct the State-owned Plantation Corporation of Kerala (PCK) to amend the affidavit it had filed before the Kerala High Court disowning responsibility to pay compensation to Endosulfan victims in Kasaragod district.
The government relieved PCK Managing Director N.K. Manoj, who was responsible for filing the affidavit, of his post. Mr. Manoj, however, will continue to be Managing Director of the State Agro-industries Corporation. He was only holding additional charge as Managing Director of the PCK.
Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran told the media that the PCK would be told that its affidavit should conform to government policy. There should not be any divergence between the stand taken by the PCK and the government, which also had filed an affidavit. He said it was not clear whether the PCK would legally be able to withdraw the affidavit filed by it. However, there were provisions to seek amendments to the averments in it.
The Minister said the government had already announced a compensation and rehabilitation package for the victims, and the policy decision had been conveyed to the PCK that it should also bear a part of the cost.
The Director Board of the PCK had taken a decision in favour of sharing the cost. The Managing Director had offered to quit in view of the faux pas.
Mr. Ratnakaran said he could not say whether the PCK should be ready for payment of an adjudicated compensation without looking into the legal aspects.
He said the Centre was understood to have decided to keep in abeyance the permission granted to the Rubber Board for testing genetically modified variety of rubber. He had written to the Centre objecting to the decision in favour of trials and a reply was awaited.
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