Health and Family welfare Department now confirms 15 deaths in DK due to endosulfan

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Sept 22: Deaths due to endosulfan in Puttur, Beltangady, Sullia and Bantwal taluks in Dakshina Kannada, has been for the first time confirmed by the state government. So far government was denying the fact that deaths were due to pesticide and was under the impression that connection between the deaths and pesticide has got no connection. But confirmation, which came in the form of a presentation in Mangalore by the department of health, revealed the truth and was contrary to the view hitherto held.

Besides deaths, report prepared by the District Health and Family Welfare Department also confirmed mental and physical disabilities due to endosulfan.This  report was submitted at the first meeting of the newly formed district-level General Committee for Endosulfan Victims’ Welfare chaired by the District in-charge Minister B. Ramanath Rai on Saturday.

As many as 2479 victims of the pesticide have been identified in endosulfan-affected areas, as per the survey conducted by the health department under the order of U T Khader, minister for health and family welfare department.A survey conducted in November 2012 put the number of victims in the district at 1,907. “The process of identification was the same as the one done last time,” said S.B. Arun Kumar, District Malaria Officer, who was involved in the survey and made the presentation.

The revised list has classified victims into those who died, are bedridden, those with mental disability and those suffering from other disabilities.

The department has collected details of each victim along with the photograph. Of the total of 1,934 families affected by endosulfan, 73 families have more than two victims. As many as 161 “chiefs of the families” have ailments resulting from endosulfan, the report said.

Commending the exercise of the department, Mr. Rai said, “There might be some omissions. But it looks like the report is done in a scientific way.” Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat members pointed that some names had been left out. One member pointed that people from these taluks, who have moved to neighboring Kerala, have not been considered in the present survey. To this, Mr. Rai said process of revision of the list of victims would continue.

Mr. Rai, Mr. Khader, MLAs T. Shakuntala Shetty, Mohiuddin Bava and J.R. Lobo, Deputy Commissioner N. Prakash and Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer Tulasi Maddineni participated in the meeting.

‘Publish the findings on web’

Sridhar Gowda, an endosulfan victim and president of Endo Virodhi Horata Samiti, who attended the Saturday’s meeting, said the list of victims of the aerial spraying of the pesticide released by the department should be made available on the official website of the government. The department should also give details of the yardstick used to identify the victims. He said the State government should provide facilities for scanning of pregnant women in the region to prevent birth of babies with deformities. He said endosulfan victims were in debt because of huge expenses spent on treatment.

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