In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court has ordered to give Rs.5 lakh as compensation to the victims of Endosulfan spraying in the villages of Kasargod district in Kerala.
SC bench headed by Chief Justice J S Kehar ruled in favour of the victims while disposing a petition submitted by the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI).
The order, which brought some relief to over 3,000 victims of the aerial spraying of the lethal pesticide in the cashew plantations of Kasargod, directed the government to disburse the money within three months.
The government should also provide lifelong health care for the victims.
The apex court also stated that the money for providing compensation could be exacted from the pesticide companies.
SC further issued a contempt notice to the Central Environment and Agro Chemicals, a conglomerate of endosulfan manufactures, for using the photograph of the SC chief justice in its advertisements in the year 2012.
From the mid-70s, public sector cashew plantations in Kasargod used aerial spraying of Endosulfan on 4,600-ha, affecting many generations of 11 panchayats in the locality.
The persistent spraying of the harmful pesticide caused genetic disorders, neuro- behavioural disorders, cognitive disorders, hydrocephalus, mental retardation and cortical blindness.
The area also had a high cancer rate, and the number of persons with disabilities was also unusually high.
As per a survey by State Social Welfare Department in 2010, 2,836 victims were suffering various ailments due to exposure to Endosulfan in Kasargod.
But activists and local people had disputed this number and a survey by the local panchayats had found more than a hundred patients who were left out in the study.
The National Human Rights Commission delegation visited Kasargod in 2010 and directed the state government to give a package for the Endosulfan victims that included compensation, rehabilitation and pension.
Kerala government had banned the use of the pesticide in 2001 after the plight of the Endosulfan victims in Kasargod came as an eye-opener.
The Centre banned its aerial spray and the government assured that the country, which is a signatory to the Stockholm Convention, would phase out the use of Endosulfan by this year.