The former Karnataka Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Shobha Karandlaje, has launched a fresh struggle in her new role as an activist: she spearheads a campaign for a nationwide ban on endosulfan, an organochlorine pesticide, used as an aerial spray on cashew plantations.
The pesticide linked to unusual diseases and deformities in human beings and animals has been banned in Kerala after the media reported its adverse impact on the people in Kasaragod.
In New Delhi to meet the new Bhartiya Janata Party president, Nitin Gadkari, Ms. Shobha spoke to The Hindu about her campaign among the farmers of Dakshina Kannada. “I was an activist then [as a Minister] and I am an activist now,” she said.
Ms. Karandlaje was forced to resign from the Karnataka Cabinet so that Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa could keep his job. She said the aerial spray of endosulfan on cashew plantations affected the population in the district in such a way that in each house, there were people who were either mentally or physically handicapped. It also hit the drinking water in wells, animals and the soil.
Ms. Karandlaje, who conducted a study in the region, said people in the Puttur and Belthangdi taluks were suffering from cancer, diseases affecting the central nervous system, skin diseases, respiratory disorders, eye problems and impotency, all of which could be linked to the use of the pesticide. “I want to put up the strongest fight in the country for the ban of endosulfan,” she said...........Click for more
Source Web Page: The Hindu