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Pesticide industry opposes temporary ban on endosulfan in Karnataka

The 60-day temporary ban imposed by the government of Karnataka on production and usage in the state has evoked strong opposition from the manufacturers and formulators of Endosulfan across the country. Several associations representing the Endosulfan industry have issued statements criticizing the move.

Commenting on the development, Mr Pradip Dave, President, Pesticides Manufactures and Formulators Association of India (PMFAI) expressed concern that the Karnataka Government decision appears to have been made under pressure from environmental groups. Mr. Dave further stated that, “this is playing straight into the hands of vested interests such as the European Union, who have a direct business interest in the ban of Endosulfan. The overall design of the EU stakeholders is to ban this popular low-cost, off-patent pesticide and replace it with expensive patented products.”

An official communiqué from Endosulfan Manufacturers’ and Formulators’ Welfare Association (EMFWA) claimed the decision to be arbitrary and motivated. EMFWA mentioned that this decision appears to be in sequence to Karnataka government sanctioning a budget of Rs. 50 lakhs to some people on the basis of a hurriedly conducted survey in February last year. According to the survey, Endosulfan has been attributed to have caused lack of appetite, lack of sleep, diabetes leg pain, deafness, dumbness etc. In sharp contrast to this, the Government of India has formed several committees of senior scientists during the last 10 years to study the alleged adverse impact of Endosulfan on human health. Each of these successive committees has concluded that there is no link between use of Endosulfan and allegations of health problems. EMFWA has urged the Karnataka government to reverse its decision as it is based on a hurriedly conducted survey in Balthangady taluka and adjoining regions in Dakshin Karnataka. The survey does not have any scientific support.

EMFWA sent many letters explaining the fallacy of attributing these health ailments to use of Endosulfan and sought a meeting with the Chief Minister. There has been no response and subsequently a legal notice was served on the Government of Karnataka by EMFWA on 14th September 2010. Once again there has been no response from the Government of Karnataka. The fundamental duty enshrined in Article 51 A (h) of India’s Constitution requires citizens (state included) to develop “scientific temper”. According to EMFWA the Karnataka government has failed to follow the fundamental duty enshrined in our Constitution.

EMFWA asserted that there is no scientific evidence that the usage of Endosulfan causes any of the illnesses mentioned in the survey. EMFWA has challenged the decision on the grounds that it is a gross abuse of the discretionary powers of the government of Karnataka.

by S. C.
20 february 2011, World News > Asia