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Endosulfan lobby influencing Union Ministry: Sudheeran

Staff Reporter

VS told to lead all-party team to meet Prime Minister

KOLLAM: Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran has called upon Chief Minster V.S. Achuthanandan to lead an all-party delegation to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and press the demand for a nation-wide ban on Endosulfan.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, he said that while the Chief Minister had earlier assured about going with a delegation to meet the Prime Minister for the purpose, it was unfortunate that it did not happen.

Mr. Sudheeran said that in the wake of Union Minster for Agriculture Sharad Pawar taking a pro-Endosulfan stand in Parliament on Tuesday, an all-party delegation meeting the Prime Minister became all the more important. He alleged that the Endosulfan lobby was using the Union Ministry of Agriculture to block moves aimed at banning the insecticide.

‘Lobby's tricks'

Mr. Sudheeran said that in spite of the strong opposition against Endosulfan, the lobby was using all tricks to counter the opposition. The lobby was even organising debates by so-called agricultural scientists to chart out a plan in favour of Endosulfan and misguide the people. In this backdrop, there were allegations that the lobby had the support of the Union Ministry of Agriculture.

The reports which Mr. Pawar had relied upon to turn down a ban on Endosulfan were questionable. Mr. Sudheeran said that Endosulfan was harmful to all forms of life and that was the reason why 74 countries, including the United States of America, had banned it. Many other countries were also in the process of phasing out Endosulfan. He said that Endosulfan was a catastrophe inflicted upon the people by the government. The Union Ministry of Agriculture, the State government and the Plantation Corporation of India were liable for the sufferings of its victims. These agencies should adequately compensate the victims.

He said the State government was undecided even to constitute a tribunal for deciding on the compensation. Instead of calling for another new study, existing scientific study reports like the one published by the National Institute of Occupational Health should be relied upon for taking a decision on Endosulfan, he said.

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