Not being a vote bank, endosulfan victims fail to get their due

The government has declined to write off the loans for endosulfan victims though it is offering debt relief to farmers and fishermen.  The government says it did not have the money to write off the loans of the families of the victims amounting to about Rs. 50 crores while it is willing to find bigger sums for farmers and fishermen.

BLINDED FOR LIFE: Devikiran and Jeevanraj, identified as vicitms of endosulfan by government, with their mother

The loans were taken mostly taken for the treatment of the victims and many families are not in a position to repay them.  The government plans to pay the victims compensation of Rs. 5 lakhs / Rs. 3 lakhs recommended by the National Human Rights Commission. These are to be paid in installments and through the banks.  For many, this would only suffice to repay their loans. Some may not even get the amounts as the banks would adjust them against their loans.

Compensation for victims can be considered adequate only if that covers the treatment costs and ensure a decent living. Farmers and fishermen could get their demands conceded because they are better organised and the politicians have stake in terms of their votes. The endosulfan victims are no a vote bank. However, the situation is changing with the victims and their families themselves getting organised and coming forward to fight their cause. (Till, now the fight for justice to the victims were being fought by outsiders or those marginally affected by the spraying of the pesticide by the State-owned Plantation Corporation of Kerala). The government will heed them when get organised and stand together forgetting any communal or other considerations.

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