BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the State government to set up a committee to monitor the compensation being given and rehabilitation of endosulfan victims.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice Ram Mohan Reddy questioned the government on the methodology being used to calculate the percentage of disability in endosulfan victims.
The insecticide — endolsulfan — was used on cashew plantation in Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada and Udupi districts causing a range of health problems for the villagers, the court was informed. The bench said the committee should have representatives of the district-legal services authority and members of an NGO. Amicus curiae Vaishali Hegde will be the chairperson of the committee, it said.
Earlier, Hegde told the court that persons suffering from cancer and those visually challenged due to endosulfan, have been categorised as persons with less than 25 per cent disability by the government, which meant that they would not get any stipend.
The bench then demanded an answer from the government’s counsel on the rationale behind such a categorisation.
Hegde pointed out that the government had stated that those suffering or those detected with congenital disorders would be eligible for compensation only if they were born in 1980 or later since 1980 was the year when endosulfan was first sprayed on the cashew plantation.
He said that this decision was unfair to many victims.
The government’s counsel said that the identification of victims is still going on and will end by this March.
The counsel informed the court that the government had allocated around `7 crore towards compensation, stipend, medical treatment and rehabilitation costs of all the victims.
The bench directed the government’s counsel to submit details about the formula being used to calculate the percentage of disability and also said that the figure should be based on the individual’s earning capacity and not just on the medical assessment. The next hearing will be on February 2.