Anti-endosulfan hartal concludes on a jubilant mood
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Last Updated: Friday, April 29, 2011, 22:23
Thiruvananthapuram: The dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the CPI(M)-led LDF in Kerala demanding countrywide ban on the endosulfan pesticide threw life out of gear but passed off peacefully on Friday.

The shut-down, which coincided with the final day of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants at Geneva, evoked a total response, reports said adding there were only minor incidents of stone pelting at banks.

As the hartal ended, the Left claimed victory for its anti-endosulfan campaign with the Stokholm Convention adopting a resolution to phase out the toxic pesticide.

LDF has been pressing the Centre to ban endosulfan which had allegedly caused over 400 deaths and serious health problems to nearly 4,000 people in parts of Kasargode in north Kerala, where the pesticide was sprayed in a state-run cashew plantation. Endosulfan was banned in the state in 2005.

Hailing the Geneva outcome, Kerala Chief Minister VS Ahuthanandan, who has been spearheading the campaign on the issue for the last several years, said "the pesticide lobby had to finally surrender before people's movement."

He said finally the Union Government had to support the ban demand. The outcome was "a victory of the resistance movement against the pesticide in different parts of world including Kerala", the 87-year old Marxist leader who recently staged a day-long fast to press for a ban on endosulfan,told reporters.

He said the convention's decision was conveyed to him by the independent observer from the state for the Geneva meet.

The meet decided to include endosulfan in Annexe-A of banned organic chemicals, which will lead to the global ban of the pesticide in a phased manner.

The decision was greeted by the people in Kasargode, which suffered the maximum casualty as well as serious health and environmental ill-effects, by bursting crackers.

In many parts of the state campaigners took out victory marches and distributed sweets.

While welcoming the Geneva decision, CPI(M) state Secretary Pinrayi Vijayan criticised the UPA Government for seeking exemptions in implementing the ban.

"Uncertainty is still not over whether the UPA Government will impose the ban totally. But all those who had supported the campaign could share the credit for victory", he said.

At the Geneva meet, some countries like India have been given relaxations which will allow restricted use of the pesticide for certain crops for more time.

Recently, the LDF government had stepped up the campaign for countrywide ban on the pesticide and accused the UPA Government of solft peddaling the issue.


First Published: Friday, April 29, 2011, 22:23

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