//Endosulfan: Compensation To The Victims Is Crucial

Endosulfan: Compensation To The Victims Is Crucial

By S.Faizi

26 April, 2011

While it is heartening that the entire Kerala is aligned against the endosulfan scourge, it is important not to miss the need to pay adequate compensation to the victims based on the universally agreed polluter pays principle. The Plantation Corporation of Kerala who has recklessly used the deadly insecticide for years disregarding public protests, the Hindustan Insecticides Ltd and other manufacturers who were producing and marketing this toxic substance without disclosing its fatal effects on human beings must immediately and unconditionally provide compensation to the relatives of the deceased victims and to the surviving victims. The Kerala govt who owns the Plantation Corporation should immediately take action in this regard; the Corporation need not source funds for this from outside but distribute its land in Kasarkode to the victims. The Corporation holds 2292 hectors of land in Kasarkode, and this must be handed to the victims where they can build a new life, if at all that is possible, after detoxifying the land.

The Govt should take immediate legal measures to elicit compensation from endosulfan manufacturers. All legal options including the creation of a tribunal on the model of Plachimada should be considered.

It is indeed unfortunate and embarrassing that Indian official delegation is fighting its people at the ongoing fifth meeting of the Conference of Parties (CoP) to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

THe arguments the Indian official delegation is trying to make are silly, ridiculous and run against the letter and spirit of the treaty as well as mocking the Indian Constitution. If India is not ready to join the consensus, the CoP decision must be made by voting and the Rules of Procedure of CoP does provide for that. India’s criticism of the POPRC (Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee of the CoP) recommendation is totally invalid as there is mounting evidence from different countries to support the ban, if the deaths and sufferings in Kasargoke are not enough. India’s call for the promotion of voluntary measures, rather than ban, runs against the spirit and letter of the legally binding treaty and mocks the Indian Constitution that obliges the govt to respect and implement its international treaty obligations.

As a member of the Plachimada High Power Committee I also express deep concern about the delay in getting the Presidential assent to the Plachimada Coca-Cola Victims Relief and Compensation Claims Special Tribunal Bill that was passed by the State Assembly on 24 February. Unless the Kerala govt and the Opposition are alert there is every likelihood that the Cola company could manipulate the establishment in Delhi to sabotage the law, the same way as the pesticide lobby is playing the endosulfan game.

Countercurrents.org

S.Faizi
Ecologist, Thiruvananthapuram
[email protected]