Kerala fights for a ban on endosulfan

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Thiruvananthapuram, April 22: The CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala has asked the Centre to press for a global ban on Endosulfan pesticide at the four-day Stockholm Convention on 'Persistent Organic Pollutants', to be held from April 25.

"Considering the environment pollution and serious health problems caused by the pesticide, India should take a strong position against it," Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

He said the number of abortions has increased in Kasaragod district where Endosulfan was used at cashew plantations before the government banned it a few years ago, as married women feared they would give birth to handicapped children.

"It is a very serious issue and the Centre should take all these facts into consideration', Achuthanandan said. Criticising Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar's "negative" attitude towards imposing a ban, he said the Ministry's move to conduct yet another study, after 16 similar exercises in the last 10 years by various organisations on Endosulfan's impact, was an "insult" to the victims.

He said April 25 would be observed as anti-endosulfan day throughout Kerala, with meetings at district headquarters.

An all-party delegation led by Health Minister P K Sreemathi would soon meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to press for a nationwide ban on endosulfan.


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