By Shayan Ghosh:
The ban of endosulfan in Karnataka comes as a historic move in the time when the state politics is just about corruption and enveloped in a never ending cycle of scams. It seems that Karnataka is now leading the way to India, where the central government is against the ban of the pesticide. With Sharad Pawar, Union Agriculture Minister, continuously harping that the deformities caused are not a result of endosulfan, the state seems to show a streak of light. It shows that however corrupt we might be, we can recover anytime and it’s never too late to retract.
“No idea what we use, it just comes as a liquid in bottles,” said Ravi J.
Wondering what the substance is? It is endosulfan, an infamous pesticide known to cause deformity and cancer in people in Kerala and Karnataka where it is used. Ravi is a farmer at Koratagere taluk in Karnataka which I had recently visited. Actually not only one farmer but many more said the same when asked if they use endosulfan or not. This is the knowledge of the farmers when it comes to identifying the chemicals they use, which is a grave concern.
A UN science commission said in October 2010 in Geneva that governments should take measures to ban the pesticide. However, India is not ready to sway from its stand and ban it. India probably doesn’t find time to ponder upon the lives of the millions of farmers who have been suffering and the millions more who might. My country can allow some minister to launder 1.76 lakh crore. It can take months to set up a JPC and spoil the winter session of the Parliament. My India can spend 7000 crore on commonwealth games 2010 but its food grains lie rotting and being devoured by rats in FCI godowns. It actually wants to reach the top; it wants to grow at a faster rate than the present 8.2 in GDP. However almost half the population lives below the poverty line.
Endosulfan used to be aerially sprayed in parts of Kerala from the 1976 till it was banned in 2001. People noticed deformed limbs and stunted growth in the area. This was substantiated by various scientific researches like the one by The National Institute Occupational Health (Indian Council of Medical Research) which showed that endosulfan as the cause of health problems.
Karnataka’s decision if approved by the central government will put an end to the forthcoming sufferings of the people. It has thrown a flood of light on how something good can be churned out even when there is a hue and cry going on regarding corruption. This is the path that the centre should follow and ban the pesticide that has killed so many and has the might to do more if allowed. It’s never too late to mend.