Udayavni Special

Endosulfan victims go unheard


Team Udayavani, May 12, 2018, 2:07 PM IST

Dakshina Kannada: With all the controversies in place in the wake of Assembly elections, a prominentdemand of endosulfan victims in Dakshina Kannada has become lost.

The endosulfan victims have been asking to take care of 200 bedridden victims permanently in a center has still remained a dream with none of the parties responding during the campaign. They have also been demanding four more day-care centers in addition to the existing two at Kokkada in Belthangady taluk and Koila in Puttur taluk.

The government spraying endosulfan on cashewnut plantations on 6,387 hectares in Belthangady and Puttur taluks in the 1980s resulted in many newborns and others developing physical deformities.

Endosulfan victims suffer from cerebral palsy, autism, mental retardation and other multiple disabilities. There are currently 3,762 victims identified by the government in the district.

“It’s really sad that we have to ask the parties to discuss our issues,” said Sridhar Gowda, a victim and president, Endo Virodhi Horata Samithi.

Last month some victims and their parents held a meeting in Uppinangady and demanded that their issues should be taken up by parties in their manifestos. But no parties have paid heed to their demands.

Activist and president of Udupi-based Human Rights Protection Council Ravindranath Shanbhag has been fighting for the rights of endosulfan victims along with Shree Padre, a farm journalist, and Y.S. Mohan Kumar, a medical practitioner of Kerala.

He said that Supreme Court finally banned the spraying of endosulfan in the region in 2013 after he led a petition against it. The Karnataka High Court then directed Karnataka government come up with relief measures for the victims. As a result, the government is paying a monthly stipend of ₹3,000 to those with more than 60% disability and ₹1,500 to those having disability ranging between 25% and 60%. Those having below 25% disability, i.e 568 victims are not provided with any stipend.

Other relief measures include monthly health check-up camps, free bus passes to endosulfan victims and his/her care taker to visit nearby hospital, specialist treatment facility at 10 private hospitals and free ration for the victims.

“These measures are because of High Court intervention and not the intitiative of any government,” said Mr. Gowda. The opening of the two day-care centres in 2011 however is the initiative of the government, he said.

Mr. Gowda said that the permanent care center for the bedridden victims will relieve parents who are concerned about future of their siblings.

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