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`Will ban endosulfan if adverse effect on health proved`

Jairam said endosulfan will be banned countrywide if its adverse effect on health is proved.



New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram: Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh today said endosulfan will be banned countrywide if its adverse effect on health is proved inviting
a caustic comment from Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan who said his environmental concerns are "sheer hypocrisy."

Ramesh`s comment came amid growing demand by environment activists and various political parties for a central ban on the use of endosulfan, a pesticide which is already banned in Kerala and Karnataka.

He at the same time alleged that there were lot of lobbies working for and against the endosulfan and said, "I do not want to fall victim to any lobby..."

A Gujarat government committee meanwhile opposed ban on endosulfan production in the state saying there are no health effects on humans as a result of exposure to it.

"Endosulfan is banned in Kerala. I respect the decision of the government of Kerala and if there is evidence to show that it has all India health effects, we will ban it at the
national level," Ramesh told reporters in New Delhi.

Ramesh was reacting to a question on Kerala`s demand for all India ban on the pesticide.

However, the minister said endosulfan is a broad spectrum pesticide and there are no other cost effective alternatives to it as yet.

Ramesh said he was aware of the endosulfan disaster in Kasargod and haS asked for more evidence. "Some people say there are other districts in Karnataka, which have also been affected. I am very sensitive to this issue," he said.

Lashing out at Ramesh, Achuthanandan said "Is Ramesh, who poses himself as a person seriously concerned over environmental issues, not living in this country to be unaware of the grievous problems caused by endosulfan in places like
Kasargode ".

"Not only in 11 panchayats in Kerala but also parts of Karnataka, from where Ramesh hails, are suffering from the harmful effects of endosulfan," he said in a statement in
Thiruvananthapuram.

"Ramesh has always claimed that he is deeply concerned about environmental issues. But his stand on the endosulfan issue exposed his environmental concerns as mere hypocrisy.

Again and again demanding for more proof would be deplorable," Achuthanandan said.

"Through this self-deception, Ramesh has insulted the very position of the Union Environment Minister he holds", he said.

Kerala Health Minister P K Sreemathy, who today led an all-party delegation to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue, said no firm assurance had been given by the Centre on banning endosulfan.

"The Prime Minister said the state would be informed of the Centre`s stand after examining the study reports and allied documents on the issue", Sreemathy said in New Delhi.

The Gujarat government commitee in its report said, "There is no risk posed to community at large including workers, farmers and other users of endosulfan due to
exposure to endosulfan and its metabolites and hence recommends its continued manufacture, use and trade."

PTI

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