THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The indefinite agitation by mothers of endosulfan victims and the hunger strike by social activist Daya Bai to put pressure on the government to agree to their demands was called off on Sunday, following the undertaking given by the Chief Minister.
The protest under the aegis of Endosulfan Peeditha Janakeeya Munnani (EPJM) in front of Secretariat here had been on since Wednesday before the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) adopted a conciliatory stand at the mediatory talks convened on Sunday. Incidentally, the CMO called the meeting after the protesters took out a march to the Chief Minister’s official residence.
M V Jayarajan, private secretary to the Chief Minister, told reporters here the demands raised by the mothers will indeed be addressed. “The government will take steps to include victims, who had turned 18 in 2017, in the list of beneficiaries,” he said.
‘CM agrees to take steps to resolve the issues’
M V Jayarajan, private secretary to Pinarayi Vijayan, said: “The government has taken a serious view of the protesters’ demands. The Chief Minister has agreed to take steps to resolve the issues encountered by the victims and their families. The government has also instructed the District Collector to take steps immediately.”
Muneesa Ambalathara, EPJM president, said the agitation was called off after the government agreed to increase the number of beneficiaries.
“The Chief Minister assured us the existing beneficiaries’ list will be revised. He said one more medical camp will be held so that all those eligible, who couldn’t make it to the earlier camp owing to hartal, can attend. I thank the people of Kerala and the media for their support and the government for accepting our demands,”she said.
Daya Bai, while expressing gratitude to those who backed the agitation, said she does not hold any grudge against Health Minister K K Shailaja over the latter’s comments on the protest. “I am quite happy the government has agreed to our demands. I believe all those eligible will receive the benefits on time,” she said, after ending the hunger strike. Mothers with endosulfan-ravaged children had gone on protest demanding speedy disbursal of compensation and implementation of the rehabilitation package. The protesters, including eight families from Kasargod, consisted of kin of endosulfan victims statewide.
Earlier, the protesters’ demand for a revision of the beneficiaries’ list followed complaints of several ineligible people figuring in it. The list was drawn up on the basis of guidelines issued in 2013, which says government benefits will be given to the people residing in 11 panchayats. According to the EPJM, several people in other areas were also affected by the scourge.
‘Rehab village for victims will be ready this year’
Kasargod: The rehabilitation village for endosulfan victims will come up at Muliyar this year itself, Health Minister K K Shailaja has said. Six BUDS schools, for children with intellectual and learning disabilities, will also be inaugurated this year as part of the 1,000 days of the LDF Government’s tenure. She said the government had waived loans up Rs 50,000 of endosulfan survivors in the first phase. “Now the debt waiver will benefit those who have taken a loan up to Rs 3 lakh,” she said. She was speaking after laying the foundation stone for the Mother and Child Hospital at Kanhangad.
Mothers with endosulfan-ravaged children had gone on protest demanding speedy disbursal of compensation and implementation of the rehabilitation package.