Bengaluru: The woes of Endosulfan victims continue even after HC order

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Bengaluru, Nov 24: This was probably a dooms day when a large chunk, ailing and 60 bed-ridden endosulfan victims gathered at freedom park in Bengaluru on Nov 18 to protest against the lacuna of the government.

All arrived, perhaps gulped the pain to set a suffering voyage of 300-350 kms with a soul aim of earning the privilege, they are deprived of.

Protest at Freedom Park

The state government led by CM Siddaramaiah blatantly obliterated concerns and demands of victims by failing to provide facilities stipulated by the High Court (HC) of Karnataka.

The HC in its order, in the month of April, 2015 lambasted the laxity of the government and laid down certain instructions to safe-guard the interests of victims of chemical spray - Endosulfan.

It could be recalled that the people of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada were worst hit by dangerous pest spray, Endosulfan. Once hit, it causes many diseases such as cancer, skin diseases, eye problems and others.

The worst of all is, the infants born with physical disabilities and mental abnormalities as the disease passes on to generations.

Mainly the HC instructed the government to provide stipend to the victims. The HC after hearing the case said the government is required to pay minimum of Rs 3,000 as monthly stipend to the victims.

Endosulfan Victims

Besides, the government directed the state to equip the victims by providing facilities such as day-care center, staff nurse, doctors, compensation, mobile hospital and others.

Sadly nothing has been materialized by the state government, except stipend and two endosulfan-effected villages getting day care centers, staff nurse and dedicated doctor.

A village, Guttigaru in Sullya Taluk has a doctor, who is committed to follow the HC order. According to sources, he moves in his private jeep to victim's house in order to treat them personally.

Apart from this only two day care centers, one in Kokkada of Belthangady Taluk and another in Alankaru in Puttur Taluk have been established. But the government had promised the HC to set up as many as five day care centers. The state has failed to comply with the orders given by the high court.

Stipend delayed:

The state government after carrying out a survey to identify endosulfan victims concluded that there are as many as 4,000-4,500 affected people in the state. The state is holding several consultations with the health experts set stipend on the 'level of disability'.

For a victim disabled at 25%- 60% stipend of Rs 1,500 will be paid monthly and for those suffering from above 60%, Rs 3,000 will be paid. The victims have been issued with identity cards to assume entitlement of availing endosulfan related benefits rolled out by the state.

Around 600 victims on Nov 18 held silent protest mainly because the stipend that has to be credited to their accounts has been delayed since five months.

Endolsulfan Victims

The Revenue Department and Social Security and Pension Directorate share the responsibilities for stipend payment.

"The government has been neglecting the demand of victims," said Shridhar Gowda president of Endo Horata Samaiti, Kokkada. Gowda himself a victim of endosulfan and his vision is gradually getting blurred for the disastrous impact of the endosulfan. The victims and care takers are forced to take loans to buy medicines and treatment, he rued.

"The government's lack of will has brought us to freedom park to fight injustice," he argued. The victims has not received stipend since past five months and after the protest a few victims have been credited with June month's stipend.

He said they have been protesting since to two years to seek justice and even after the HC order the government's will to implement the order look dull. "For how long we have to live in dark days", he asks.

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