The Kerala government gives written assurance to fulfil the demands of activist Daya Bai
The Kerala government has given a written assurance to fulfil the demands of social activist Daya Bai, who is on a hunger strike demanding justice for Endosulfan victims in the Kasaragod district.
This comes a day after state ministers R Bindu and Veena George met Daya Bai at the General Hospital here and requested her to end her fast, promising to fulfil 90 per cent of their demands.
However, the 81-year-old activist has decided to continue his strike here, saying some of his demands have not been met.
“She will rewrite the demands after discussing them with the members of her group and present them to the ministers. He has not called off his strike,” sources close to him told PTI.
Health Minister Veena George’s office said a written assurance was given to Daya Bai based on her meeting with state ministers on Sunday.
Daya Bai began her indefinite hunger strike in front of the state secretariat on October 2.
She alleged that the state government had released the victims.
After talking to the ministers, the social worker said that she would not back down from her strike until she got a written assurance from the government.
Endosulfan, an organochlorine insecticide and acaricide, was widely used in Kerala on cashew, cotton, tea, paddy, fruit and other crops until 2011 when the apex court banned its production and distribution. The toxic effects of endosulfan on humans and associated health hazards are well known.
Daya Bai is on strike to ensure proper and better health facilities in the Kasaragod district, which suffers the most.
The ministers briefed them on the steps to meet the victims’ demands. He said that the work of Kasaragod Medical College and a particular hospital at Kanhangad is nearing completion.
He was shifted to a hospital on October 4 after the social worker’s health deteriorated. On October 8, Leader of the Opposition V D Satisan met Daya Bai and promised her support.
The social activist had demanded better health facilities in Kasaragod district and demanded that an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) be set up there.
The Supreme Court on May 13 pulled up the Kerala government for not paying compensation of Rs five lakh each to the victims of the toxic pesticide endosulfan and directed the chief secretary to hold monthly meetings and ensure necessary medical assistance to them.
The top court had in January 2017 directed the CPI(M)-led government to provide a compensation and rehabilitation package for endosulfan pesticide victims.
The court had directed the government to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin who died due to pesticide exposure and those lying on the bed or mentally handicapped.
Earlier, the state government had prepared a list of 5,837 victims. A monthly pension is being given to 4376 affected people.