The Kasargod Endosulfan tragedy is one of the world’s worst pesticide disasters that resulted in chronic long term sufferings to the humans and wildlife in the east mountainous regions of the district.
Endosulfan, a highly toxic chemical was sprayed aerially in the cashew plantations of the State-owned Plantation Corporation of Kerala covering 4600 hectares for 24 years under the guise of controlling the pests. The continuous spraying of the environmental pollutant despite several warnings affected the biodiversity of the area causing several critical and life threatening ailments in the areas surrounding the plantations. Lives of hundreds of families came to a halt with more than 500 dead and thousands critically ill. The villagers in the area have painful tales of misery to share. The children are born with genetic disorders. The victims of the tragedy, being weaker sections residing in the northern border of the state weren’t noticed by the government. They were neglected by the mainstream political organizations as well. It was only after the voices of protests raised by the modern social organizations, that they caught the attention of the government as well as the mainstream political organizations. Several safety and relief packages were announced for them. But none of the promises have been fulfilled so far. A government advert was published in the newspapers two days ago hailing the contributions of the state government towards the victims of Endosulfan tragedy along with the money spent for the purpose. It carried the statements of the CM ‘Evarude samrakshanam nammude kadama’ (Their Safety Our Duty) and the claim that the government had spent Rs 150.71 crore for the purpose so far. Those hit by the tragedy had led a strike in front of the residence of the Chief Minister on January 26 last year demanding a solution to their misery.
The government succumbed to all their demands when the agitations triggered discourses in the state. But according to the victims, it has failed to fulfill the promises even after two years. Therefore they have gone on an indefinite hunger strike before the state Secretariat since the Republic day demanding immediate disbursal of compensation amounts as ordered by the Human Rights Commission, scientific implementation of rehabilitation and writing off the debts of the victims. The advert also contains the images of two children who are the victims of the tragedy. The leaders of the protest say that the children haven’t even been included in the list of Endosulfan victims. These are the evidences of the sloppiness of the government in handling such matters that deserve grave concern. Whenever the issues related to the disaster are raised, it shouldn’t be mistaken as a move against any political front. Both the fronts have equal role in their misery. The parties shouldn’t engage in political games playing with their lives. It’s the responsibility of the people to pay the recompense. Therefore the CM should pay heed to their woes and initiate steps to put an end to their protests. In the present political scenario spuming with high profile scandals like the Solar and Bar bribery scams, the government as well as the opposition obviously wouldn’t have any interest in the case. But shouldn’t we be able to raise our voice for the most weakest?