THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja Saturday said it was not right on part of the endosulfan victims to "exhibit" their children, suffering the effects of the deadly pesticide, in front of the secretariat.
However, social activist Daya Bai, who is staging an indefinite fast at the venue in support of the endosulfan victims, asked where else would the victims go to get what they deserve.
"We have given them all sorts of assistance. We were ready to hold talks. But still, they were protesting in front of the secretariat exhibiting children. I don't undertstand what their aim is. Earlier, there were many prominent personalities in the protest, but now there are not many," the minister told the media.
Mothers with their endosulfan-affected children had on January 30 begun an indefinite fast in front of the Secretariat here, demanding speedy disbursal of compensation and implementation of the rehabilitation package. Eight families, who have come from the northernmost district of Kasaragod to the state's southern tip to make their woes heard, said they would not return without their demands being met.
"It's fine with the government when these families have to visit various government offices with these poor children for years to receive compensation. But the same government is sad when we take them to the secretariat asking for compensation," Daya Bai said.
The State government yesterday failed to reach an agreement with the representatives of endosulfan victims from Kasaragod.
The Supreme Court had in January 2017 directed the Kerala government to disburse compensation and rehabilitation package for endosulfan pesticide victims.
A bench headed by then Chief Justice J S Khehar had ordered the government to provide a compensation of Rs five lakh each to the next of kin of people who died following exposure to the pesticide and those who became bed-ridden or mentally challenged.
Endosulfan, an off-patent organochlorine insecticide and acaricide, was used widely on crops like cashew, cotton, tea, paddy, fruits and others until 2011 when the Supreme Court banned its production and distribution.