NGOs indulge in war of words over use of pesticide

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New Delhi, Nov 15(UNI) In what could be termed a slanging match between two non-profit organisations, a pro-industry NGO today offered Rs one crore to noted environmentalist Sunita Narain to prove her claim of high level of endosulfan residues found in the samples of water, leaves, milk and blood.

Contesting Ms Narain's findings, the Centre for Environment and Agrochemicals(CENTEGRO) challenged, '' If Centre for Science and Environment(CSE) Chairperson Narain can demonstrate in the presence of learned scientists that 9.19 ppm residues of endosulfan from water mixture can be extracted by scientifically valid methods confirming to established norms and protocols, then CENTEGRO will immediately reward her with Rs one crore.'' Mumbai-based CENTEGRO Chairman Raju Shroff regretted that the CSE's activity has caused a loss of over Rs 200 crore to more than 60 endosulfan manufacturers and formulators.

The CSE had earlier reported to have found residues of endosulfan exceeding 28 times its water solubility which was contested by CENTEGRO adviser S Ganeshan, saying the samples put to test by Ms Narain were doctored.

Significantly, the CSE had played a pivotal role in controlling pollution in the national capital by promoting CNG, CNG-run vehicles and banning of leaded diesel. Ms Narain had also contested the case of high presence of pesticide residues in soft drinks, including Pepsi and Coca Cola, following which a joint parliamentary committee was constituted to probe the veracity of the CSE's claims.

Mr Ganeshan said apart from presenting a manipulated and a made-up report, Dr Padma Vankar, a Kanpur IIT scientist, also shared the dais with the CSE to prove the latter's authenticity regarding the endosulfan tests.

He claimed endosulfan has target specific action on pests and a negligible residual impact on the environment and its affordable costs make it very popular among farmers.

Dismissing the findings of the CSE on endosulfan causing cancer, genetic disorders and sexual weakness as a ''laboratory fraud'' played with fraudulent data, Rajya Sabha member and farmers' leader Sharad Joshi, who was also present at the news conference, said that had triggered a scare among farmers, who stopped using the pesticide which, in turn, damaged their income potential besides adversely affecting the food security of the country.

The pesticide industry has already challenged the CSE findings in court and come out with a booklet title 'Chemistry of a Scientific Fraud', accusing Ms Narain of conducting '' a doctored investigation for ulterior motives''.

Annually, India produces around 7000 tonnes of endosulfan, out of which 70 per cent is exported. And the CSE findings have dented the endosulphan pesticide exports with maufacturers finding if difficult to establish the credibility of the product abroad.

UNI

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