KASARAGOD: The Kerala state government has revised the guidelines for identifying ‘endosulfan‘ victims in the state. The new order specifies that individuals born after 2011 are unaffected by ‘endosulfan’ exposure.
It states that, regardless of conditions and symptoms, children born after October 2011 will no longer be considered as endosulfan victims.
As per the latest guidelines from the Kerala Health and Family Welfare Department, individuals who lived in endosulfan-affected areas between January 1980 and October 2011 are classified as ‘exposed’ to endosulfan.
The hazardous pesticide Endosulfan was widely used on large crop estates such as cashew, cotton, tea, paddy, and others in Kerala. The spraying of Endosulfan affected several individuals, leading to mental and physical disorders.
The Kerala Health Department’s new guidelines explicitly exclude individuals born after October 2011 from the list of endosulfan victims.
Endosulfan was officially banned in Kerala on October 25, 2005. The state government’s new directive regarding endosulfan victims is based on a report from an expert committee stating that the effects of endosulfan last only for six years.
The report from the government-appointed committee highlights that considering the ban enforced through a Gazette notification on October 25, 2005, the maximum environmental persistence would be until October 25, 2011.
As per the new order, 6,728 children would not be considered as victims.
According to a Supreme Court order, the state government is required to provide Rs 5 lakh in compensation for the victims. However, due to the new order, 6,728 children would not be considered for compensation and other medical assistance.
In response to this situation, several social activists and medical experts working in this field have highlighted that even after 2011, many children have been born in distress. They also pointed out that despite the official notification in October 2005, illegal endosulfan spraying continued, which was not taken into account by the expert committee.
The victims have expressed that there is a clear conspiracy behind the health department’s directive. They have also said that if the new order is not withdrawn promptly, a strong protest will be organized.