Daya Bai ends fast after Kerala govt assures to extend healthcare facilities for endosulfan victims
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday said all the four major demands of Bai, except establishing the AIIMS in Kasaragod, will be fulfilled by the government.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Social activist Daya Bai has ended her hunger strike after the government handed a revised written assurance on her demands. The 81-year-old began her indefinite strike in front of the secretariat on October 2 demanding better healthcare facilities for endosulfan victims in Kasaragod.
She called off the strike while being treated at the General Hospital here on Wednesday. The police shifted her to the hospital on October 7 after her health deteriorated. She was put on IV support since then as she refused to take food.
On October 16, health minister Veena George and Higher Education Minister R. Bindu met Bai. The ministers also conducted a discussion with the Endosulfan Samara Samithi. However, the oral promises of the ministers were diluted in the minutes of the meeting handed to the Samithi.
Following this, Bai decided to continue her protest until the government gave her a clear assurance.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday made a public appeal to Bai to stop her protest. He said all the four major demands of Bai, except establishing the AIIMS in Kasaragod, will be fulfilled by the government.
On Wednesday, the government issued revised minutes of the meeting in which vague promises were replaced with assurances.
The first document said that a neurology treatment facility would be established in any of the hospitals in Kasaragod within one year. The revised note said the centre would be established in the district hospital at Kanhangad within one year.
The first document stated that the government will consider the demand to establish daycare centres for the mentally-challenged and bedridden in all municipalities and grama panchayats.
The revised note said the demand will be met.
The first document said that applications for identifying the endosulfan victims will be accepted in two months and special medical camps will be held for the selected persons.
The revised note said the applications will be processed in five months and camps will be held for the selected persons.
Endosulfan, an organochlorine insecticide and acaricide, was used widely on crops like cashew, cotton, tea, paddy, fruits and others until 2011 in Kerala, when the Supreme Court banned its production and distribution.
Endosulfan's toxic effects on humans and related health hazards are well established.
The apex court had on May 13 this year pulled up the Kerala government for not paying the compensation of Rs 5 lakh to each of the victims of Endosulfan and directed the state Chief Secretary to hold monthly meetings and ensure necessary medical help to them.