Government of India Must Ban Endosulfan and Stop Protecting Interests of Pesticide Industry
New Delhi, April 25: A ban on Endosulfan by 81 countries and Kerala and Karnataka governments doesn’t seem to be reason enough for the Government of India to completely ban the use and manufacture of this deadly pesticide. Since 1976 continued aerial spray of Ednsoulfan has led close to 9,000 deaths, and nearly 4,800 bed ridden patients with sever physical and mental deformities in State of Kerala alone. But even then the government fails to listen to this. One wonders whose interests Indian government is protecting ?
NAPM and its allies strongly condemn this unabashed advocacy and protection of the corporate interests by the government of India. The strong lobby of Pesticides Manufacturers and Formulators Association of India (PMFAI) is opposing this ban on the grounds that EU companies want to sell their pesticides by enforcing ban on generic production of cheap Endosulfan. On face of it they seem to be so concerned by the costs Indian farmers have to pay for the pesticides but the damage Endosulfan is causing is irreversible. Endosulfan is only one side of the story since the strong pesticide lobby has interests in farmers seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and everything which farmers and communities own – land, water, seeds, knowledge and most importantly market. It is unfortunate that the Ministry of Agriculture which should be concerned about the deteriorating climate for agriculture in the country is advocating on behalf of the industry and supporting GM seeds to deadly pesticides like Endosulfan.
The life of citizens and the natural resources of this country are far more important than the profits which companies will make at our cost. PMFAI claims that the new chemicals to be sold by European manufacturers cost 10 times as much and “will be damaging to the farm ecosystem as most of these are known to be harmful to pollinators such has honeybees”. We would like to ask that why Indian manufactures and Ministry of Environment is not worried about the ill impacts of the Endosulfan. There are ample amounts of physical and scientific evidence available of the dangerous impacts on human and other beings of Endosulfan, a highly toxic organochlorine pesticide but even then they refuse to accept such. This is completely unfortunate !
Indian government and its various ministries will do well by not hiding behind the ‘poor’ and own up to the liability they have incurred due to irreversible damages to populace in Kasargod, Idukki, Palakkad, Dakshin Kannada, Kodagu and Udupi. We demand reparation from the government and criminal action against the pesticides companies.
If in 21stcentury when the world over Indian is being touted as the largest democracy then how can we continue to live in the middle ages where despotic and profit hungry corporations continue to exploit the free citizens of this country in active collusion with government. We condemn such rabid advocacy of business interests over people’s interest and demand a complete ban on the use of Endosulfan and other such pesticides.
We strongly condemn the Central and State Governments, the Corporations who are responsible for the creation of irreparable and serious health disorders on our population and support the demands of the EndosulfanProtest Action Committee, Kasargod (Endosulfan Virudha Samara Samithi) :
- A permanent ban on Endosulfan all over the country before the Stockholm Conference.
- Proper relief, rehabilitation and compensation to the survivors of Endosulfan.
- Severe action including criminal prosecution of the corporates, central and state government authorities who were responsible for causing & continuing to cause irreversible health disaster on the victims & their families ,
- A complete review and assessment on the use of chemical pesticides in India by unbiased researchers.
- A permanent ban of all dangerous chemical pesticides which are already banned in other countries& which have a potential of serious public health & ecological disasters, Issues of Safety & Biosafety be given priority over commercial interest .
Government of India has a golden opportunity in the Stockholm Conference to lead by example and announce a ban and actively support other countries which are considering ban. The need is to invest in research and development of organic pesticides and not the deadly ones which remain in the environment for a long time.
We don’t need to create ecological disaster spots in the race to continue the 9% growth. We might win the race for 9% growth but we will have to carry along thousands of its children who will be crippled by the Endosulfan and other deadly pesticides together with coffins of lakhs of farmers who have committed suicide. It is never late to bring back our focus on the agriculture and create favourable objective conditions for the farmers.
Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey, P Chennaiah, Geo Josh, Hussain Master, Gabriele Dietrich, Sister Celia, Madhuresh Kumar
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