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Left MPs stage dharna for ban on endosulfan

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Carrying forward the protest demanding a global ban on the pesticide endosulfan, Left MPs on Tuesday staged a dharna in the Parliament House and urged the Centre to support the ban — a decision already taken by some 80 countries.

Citing that the United Nations had classified endosulfan as a “highly dangerous insect killer” and that its aerial spraying caused physical and mental abnormalities such as mental retardation, cancer, infertility, birth disorders, and damage to brain and nerves, the MPs asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to intervene and support the global ban.

“Now unfortunately, the Union government has so far taken a pro-endosulfan stand at the international level. On seeing the live tragic scenario in Kasaragod and other areas, the stand should be corrected …” the MPs said in a memorandum to the Prime Minister.

By opposing the ban, they said, the government was allowing multi-national companies to “plunder” the country. Strong public movements and agitations were being held across the country for banning the pesticide.

The MPs also said that the Centre had not yet shown the willingness to provide assistance to Kerala towards the compensation for and rehabilitation of the victims of endosulfan, for which it had sought Rs.442 crore.

The MPs said the Centre should issue directions to the representatives of the Stockholm Convention to speak against the use of endosulfan and press for a total ban on the insecticide.

Leader of the Rajya Sabha for the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Sitaram Yechury led the dharna and was joined by P. Karunakaran, P. Rajeev, M.P. Achuthan, P.K. Biju, A. Sampath and Tarini Kanta Roy.

In a statement, the All-India Agricultural Workers' Union and the All-India Kisan Sabha demanded an immediate ban on the use of the pesticide; a machinery to ensure compensation for those who had suffered as result of having used or indirectly ingested it; special medical insurance scheme for such victims; legal mechanism to force corporates to pay compensation for the diseases caused by the pesticide; and a campaign against the dangers of its use.

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