UPA govt favouring pesticide lobby: Achuthanandan

Kerala Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan accused the UPA government of favouring the pesticide lobby.

Last Updated: Apr 23, 2011, 16:22 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Stepping up the
attack on the Centre over the issue of banning Endosulfan,
Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan on Saturday accused the UPA
government of favouring the pesticide lobby.

Achuthanandan also termed as "deplorable" Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh`s stand that a further detailed study
was needed before considering a nationwide ban on it.

He said Singh should not repeat the arguments of
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Union Environment
Minister Jairam Ramesh, who, he alleged, were out to help the
pesticide lobby while turning a blind eye to the sufferings of
the poor.

"This stand (of Singh) is deplorable. He should
immediately take steps to convene the Cabinet to discuss the
issue raised by the delegation. He should use his good offices
to deal with the issue, affecting many citizens of our
country, in a more responsible manner."

He said though the Indian Council of Medical
Research`s report of 2002 was with the Centre, Singh had still
told an all-party delegation from Kerala, which met him
yesterday, that a further study by ICMR is needed to take a
decision.

The Prime Minister should not "helplessly" watch the
situation worsen, but instead take urgent steps to ban it, he
said a day after he lashed out at Ramesh, ridiculing his
environmental concerns as "sheer hypocrisy".

Achuthanandan said hundreds of citizens in Kerala and
Karnataka had lost their lives and many were suffering from
deformities due to ill-effects of spraying the pesticide.

Ramesh, who claimed to be a person having concern for
the environment, had already proved he was not only
"anti-environment, but anti-people," Achuthanandan charged.

He wanted to know why six ministers in the Union
Ministry from Kerala were keeping silent on the issue. These
ministers were also not concerned about getting central aid to
implement rehabilitation package for Endosulfan victims, he
said.

The Centre had also not bothered to implement the
recommendation of the National Human Rights Commission to
provide an assistance package to endosulfan victims, he said.

He said the notion so far had been that only Sharad
Pawar and his Ministry were supporting endosulfan. With the
Prime Minister and Jairam Ramesh speaking in the same
language, it had become clear that the Congress and UPA
government were also favouring the pesticide lobby, he said.

Achuthanandan said people in 11 panchayats in northern
Kerala and 96 villages of southern Karnataka were affected by
the pesticide. "The Centre should come out to help the people
and not the pesticide lobby," he said.

PTI