Controversy over compensating endosulfan victims

Controversy over compensating endosulfan victims

Agency News

Kasaragod, July 9: It was after much hue and cry including the fast-unto-death dharna staged by the mothers of endosulfan victims of Kasaragod district, before the state secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram in early this year, that the government had conceded to their demand in reinvestigating and relisting the beneficiaries of endosulfan victims through health camps to be organised in different parts of Kasaragod.

But, as it appears, there is dilution yet again, with the scope of the assured reassessment process in identifying the victims and listing the beneficiaries for compensation as directed by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). As against the promised health camps in as many as 13 places in different parts of the district, this has been limited to just one, creating much hardship a process for the victims and their relatives to attend this centralised camp, the monsoon adding to their difficulties.

That apart, the invitation for attending the camp has been limited to those who were not undergone such a health camp earlier, which otherwise mean that those who had attended similar camps earlier but not included in the beneficiary list has been denied a second chance to be considered.

This has rubbed the shoulders of the Endosulfan Peeditha Janakeeya Munnani and environmental activists, who were closely following up the welfare and rehabilitation programmes of the victims, on the wrong side. No wonder that the Samithi has decided to disrupt the health camp is all those who were denied compensation earlier is also included in tomorrow’s health camp.

According to the environmental activists, there have been several attempts by the changing Governments to dilute or neglect the legitimate rights of the victims over these years. The fast-unto-death agitation that was staged by the mothers of endosulfan victims before the secretariat in January was aimed at putting pressure on the Government to expedite the implementation of the benefits to the victims, whose life has been miserable for years.

With right activist like Daya Bai also joining the fray, the Government had agreed to include the victims who were left out from the list of aggrieved and had also promised payment of due compensation to the victims.

Though the State Government had compensated a portion of the victims by paying two to five lakhs of rupees to each, it has been alleged that many a victim did not figure in the list of beneficiaries. The failure on the part of the authorities in properly caring the medical needs of the victims were also been in the air but with silent protests and reminder petitions, thanks to the directions from the apex court and the NHRC. (UNI)