Thiruvananthapuram: The Pinarayi Vijayan led LDF government Tuesday decided to write off loans of victims of endosulphan pesticide upto rs three lakh and set apart rs 7.63 crore towards this. The decision in this regard was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here. The loans range from rs 50,000 to rs three lakh.
The government had earlier waived loans upto rs 50,000, a government press release said. It was also decided to give immediate assistance to all victims of Endosulfan as per recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission and government would make available rs 30 crore for the same, the release said.
State Revenue minister E Chandrasekharan, Health minister, K K Shylaja, Chief Secretary, Paul Antony, and Kasaragod collector, Jeevan Babu were among those who participated in the meeting. Those who were completely bedridden, mentally challenged and kin of those who passed away were being given Rs five lakh each and those with other physical deformities were getting rs 3 lakh as per the commissions recommendations, it said. Besides, those suffering from cancer will also get financial assistance of Rs three lakh.
The Chief Minister also directed that endosulfan victims who have not so far come under the beneficiary list would also be considered for assistance as per the laid down criteria. He also wanted the Centre to include all the victims in the BPL list to enable them get ration articles as per the National Food Security Act. Vijayan also wanted the Centre to make necessary changes in the criteria for including persons in the BPL category.
Administrative sanction would be given to set up a rehabiltation village for the victims and government will examine if theï¿½Corporate Social Responsiblity (CSR) funds of companies can be utilised for the same.
The Supreme Court had in January last year directed the state government to disburse compensation and rehabilitation package for endosulfan pesticide victims within 3 months. The court had ordered the government to provide a compensation of Rs five lakh each to the next of kin of persons 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 Apex Court banned its production and distribution. The health effects of the chemical include neurotoxicity, late sexual maturity, physical deformities, poisoning among others.