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Decision on endosulfan after ICMR report: Govt

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

The government today said it would decide whether or not to ban pesticide endosulfan after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) brought out a report on the subject. The statement followed Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan's decision to go on a seven-hour fast against the use of the pesticide.

Leader of the Opposition in the Kerala Assembly, Oommen Chandy, and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President, Ramesh Chennithala, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the issue. The prime minister told them the Centre had “an open mind on the issue”.

Meanwhile, at the Stockholm Convention in Geneva today, pesticide industry players had a different story to tell about India's stand on endosulfan. India, according to observers, said the recommendations to ban endosulfan would be legitimate only if a correct process was followed and the recommendations were based on scientific evidence. They wanted the convention to set aside its earlier recommendation for a global ban on endosulfan till relevant information was obtained from a specially appointed group of experts. The report of this group would be placed before the next meeting of the Stockholm Convention, observers said. The Stockholm Convention would, over the next four days, decide whether or not to ban the use of endosulfan globally.

A Prime Minister's Office release said, "The use of endosulfan has been banned in Kerala. However, imposing a nationwide ban would require national consensus, backed by scientific study.” The release said a committee chaired by the the ICMR director general was examining the harmful effects of endosulfan on the health of people, and it would be asked to expedite its findings. "Based on the findings, a view would be taken in the best interests of the country,” the release said.

In today’s fast, Achuthanandan was joined by leaders of various political parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party, cultural personalities, rights activists and representatives of various non-government organisations.

Kerala and Karnataka have already banned the use of endosulfan.

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First Published: Tue, April 26 2011. 00:26 IST