By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad
Is the widely used pesticide Endosulfan, for almost all crops world over, harmful to humans as concluded by a study of National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) in 2002?
While a scientific study conducted by NIOH at the behest of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in 2001 has blamed this pesticide for severe deformities and a few deaths in Padre village in Kasargod district in north Kerala in 2001, farmers in Gujarat claim the pesticide being used by their grandparents since 35 years is not harmful.
Moreover, manufacturers of the pesticide in Gujarat and trade bodies, like the Indian Chemical Council (ICC) and Pesticide Manufacturers and Formulators Association of India (PMFAI) claim to have discovered glaring errors in the scientific report, which questions the reliability of the report.
These questions have gained tremendous importance in India, and particularly in Gujarat, over the past few months. For the uninitiated, the NIOH report of 2002 titled ‘Final Report of the investigation of unusual illnesses allegedly produced by exposure in Padre village of Kasargod district’, is now being cited at Stockholm Convention to list Endosulfan as a Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP) and therefore ban it worldwide. The next meeting is scheduled in April 2011.
Addressing the media in the city on Friday, two farmers of Gujarat, representatives of PMFAI and ICC said if the pesticide is banned, farmers of India will be forced to resort to expensive patented imported products.
They implied that the movement for the ban of the pesticide is being fanned so aggressively by European countries to undermine India’s economic growth in the larger context, and also to benefit Europe-based patented pesticide manufacturers.