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Sometimes it's the smallest decisions with larger aims that can change the lives of many. If our attempts can at least become a spark. We are really grateful and the TEAM can proudly proclaim ‘MISSION ACCOMPLISHED’.

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Saturday, April 30, 2011


The ELIXIR of Despair, agony & DEATH

By:  Arjun.R.Shankar

After intense debate, deliberations and controversies over the Spray of death- Endosulfan finally, has been globally banned. The Contact Group on Endosulfan and new persistent organic pollutants to the Stockholm Convention, meeting in Geneva has confirmed this. The whole people of Kerala are in absolute jubilation and were distributing sweets and chocolates. The news of the global ban has come as a relief to the suffering people of Kerala. Many active NGO’s and other groups have regarded this as an essential confidence booster for their activities and they say that their next step is to ensure the victims get proper rehabilitation and relief measures.

Even as the state and country is celebrating the chemicals global phase out, the larger question which we should pose is whether this ban will effectively address the concern of the people? There will be a global phase out because the international consensus says so. But there are many exemptions to the ban and other complications like ratifying the ban. The exemptions include a phase out period of 5 years to implement the ban on production and use of the toxic pesticide. Under draft A, the parties to the Stockholm convention on POPs have agreed to include Endosulfan in Annex A of banned organic chemicals. Once the parties adopt the decision to include Endosulfan in the Annex A, they will have a period of 5years and extra 5years as a cushion period if needed in two installments- to phase out the use and ban of Endosulfan which is currently used in the cultivation of about 15-20 crops such as cotton, coffee and maize.

All these are certainly unrivalled steps in the right direction but these exemptions worry the people because the phase out time suggested is pretty long if the extra exemption is also taken. And the whole ban can turn out be a smokescreen because this can be used for another eleven years if the govt. feels like. Due to its acute toxicity, potential for bioaccumulation, and role as an endocrine disruptor several people have died and are handicapped. The exemptions provide that the chemical can be used for certain crops for the stipulated period and what guarantee does the govt. offer to the people that their lives will be safe from the deadly repercussions of the chemical?
The global ban is the reminder of exceptional sensitivity but the whole credit lies with the other member countries who tried to ban this death spray and the biggest paradox emerged here when India rejected the global ban and sought exemptions and even persuaded other countries to put down the voting format and sought the opinion format. The view taken by our country in such a platform amidst such an uproar and anguish of people reflects the insensitivity and lackadaisical mindset.  The govt. has very conveniently neglected the plight of hundreds of people from Kasargode district of Kerala and adjacent villages of Mangalore. The govt. stood firm on its ridiculous line of argument of ‘lack of proper evidence’.  The people of Kasargode with severe neurological and congenital deformities fail to qualify as proof for the govt. Their life has been ravaged by years of exposure to the Endosulfan. Hundreds of people died in the region over the years. Every child born into the family inherits some abnormality.

Still the govt. believes that they are exceptions. This is absolutely bizarre line of thinking devoid of commiseration and compassion.  It is incogitable to dub the entire deaths and deformities in the region as mere co incidence.  Anil Kakkar, Director, Crop Care Federation of India said on record “What is the proof that those people are suffering due to Endosulfan”? Govt. believes in another independent study which demonstrates that the symptoms in reported cases correspond to those of handi godu, attributed to chronic inbreeding in the region and not Endosulfan.

The govt.'s another argument is that it is the cheapest available sources of pesticide available and the alternative will be ten times expensive.  We should keep in mind that India is the largest producer of Endosulfan and there is strong pesticide lobby operating in India. The govt. says that many farmers in India support this chemical even though it has certain ill effects.
The complete mandate is with the govt. to decide whether it’s the advocate of these Lobbies or the people? The commercial utility of the chemical should not overshadow the health aspects of the cultivators and people.

The govt. in this case is extremely concerned with the plight of farmers and the multifarious angles of cultivation to increase the self sufficiency of food commodities. Here is another glorified paradox. The number of farmers who have committed suicide in India between 1997 and 2007 now stands at a staggering 182,936. The rate at which farmers are killing themselves in these states is far higher than suicide rates among non-farmers.  People speaking of self sufficiency have created that at the cost of the poor cultivators and many of them are adversely ravaged by Endosulfan and other harmful chemicals that are banned in other parts of the world but are widely used in India. Finally what we see is an active Supreme Court asking the Prime Minister about the rotting food grains in the storage houses and govt. warehouses and above all a corrupt and inefficient PDS. And we have largest number of people below the poverty line and largest malnourished children.

All the above references reflect the different views by the govt. and the result of such hazardous opinions formulated in the same field of agriculture and supplementary activities. The govt. has divergent and insolently contradictory approaches in many of these. But it wonders why they have an extra care for the production of harmful pesticides?

Even though Endosulfan is cheap, taking into the devastations unleashed by this chemical, the govt. should have taken a firm and outright step to ban this. Even if the proof is not sufficient we should respect the action taken by other advanced and developing countries that had banned this because of the nature and the expected repercussion of the chemical. It was essentially an advanced step to protect their people. At least we could have acknowledged their concern. 
Finding an alternate to this harmful chemical is the duty and unflinching commitment of the govt. and it is bound to fulfill that. The Stockholm Convention has agreed to fund if the country can find an alternative.

The death spray has been banned, but the future and course of this chemical lies in the effective operation and sensitive will of the Govt. Union govt. should come forward for the rescue mission and rehabilitation works. What we need is a Relief and rehabilitation on war footing. A separate Tribunal for the victims should be formed. This should enable better compensation and relief measures.

This is essentially a victory for the people who had struggled against the use of this deadly chemical but unfortunately a partial one, a victory at the cost of other countries when our country INDIA showed a half hearted approach to the global ban. Even this victory pains heavily. 


  1. AP,WB,Maharashtra are the largest users of Endosulfan in India.What happened in Kasargod,contrary to general belief,is still a mystery.The organisation(NIOH) that studied the effects of endosulfan in Kasargod published a false report.
    Many countries that supported the ban are puppets of EU,which by the way is recommending other much more harmful pesticides that cost a lot more than Endosulfan.
    EU admitted to funding several NGOs in Kerala that supported the ban.Has anything adverse happened anywhere else in India or the world other than a few villages?
    Sympathy for the victims.What happened is truly unfortunate.It may have been due to the indiscriminate use of the pesticide.Any pesticide(banned or not banned) is harmful if used more than that is needed.The fact that nothing adverse has been reported anywhere else in India or the world proves that its harmless if used sensibly.
    The replacement value of Endosulfan is Rs.4500 crore.The replacement surely will be that patented by European multinationals.
    Its the same game played by so called developed countries to protect the interests of their industries and their people.They dont care what happens to developing countries.

  2. iam happy about the ban of ENDOSULFAN.. how many peoples killed or effected by this .....its a victory for them who has suffered..

  3. we can use d killersulfan* until we discover an alternative and d indian govt is not going to do dat.for dem its d Damn kasargod and d Damn cpi(m).. dey may ask d cbi to prepare a report,and d cbi may say dat d ks* is gud 4 d growth of appendix and nails... i dont think dat we had a victory, we can use d ks over 22 plants, d parliament shud approve d ban etc etc. d largest democracy in d world is d biggest enemy of d people..its high time to find an alternative for democracy! arju,kudos .but u shud hav written dis earlier.. n smthing to note s all over d country dere was huge uproar against d ks but i dont think dere was much response against d hostile attitude of the nation.r we helpless??

  4. the Endosulfan tragedy which happened to many of our brothers in kasargod should not happen to any of our brothers in any other nations or in states .I cant understand why sarad powar and his ministry is supporting the 'end' o 'sulfan' ,which has killed many of the fellow citizens in the country,even the kerala ministers in the cabinet didn't give their stand.however thwe world united and stood against the killer spray ...thanks geneva

  5. Since decline of agriculture in Kerala, relationship between government and farmers has turned into a David versus Goliath situation. Previously, it was farmer's suicide now government decides not to let these farmers die away without pain. Here comes the killersulfan.

    P.S: In the Name of The Father (LDF), The Child (Achtu - mama) and The Holy Ghost (poor farmers) liberate this land from the hands of devil.

  6. It's is a heartfelt article and written well. However, it could be better by posting links to scientific peer-reviewed studies (e.g., controlled studies as referenced by wikipedia), and statistics (e.g., total exports from India).

    Keep up the good work!

  7. Good one highlighting the hazards of endosulfan.....Safety and human life should not be compromised for something cheap....But if there is no sufficient alternative to this pesticide that is safe and cost-effective, it will be a difficult path....