People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 18

May 01, 2011


AIKS, AIAWU Plan Stir for Ban on Endosulfan


THROUGH a joint statement issued from New Delhi on April 26, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) and the All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) have congratulated the state government of Kerala for banning the dangerous pesticide, Endosulfan, which has resulted in widespread growth of some 150 diseases,  including cancer, among thousands of agricultural labourers, farmers and even the population at large, who eat vegetables and fruit sprayed with it or drink water infected by the chemical filtering down into the subsoil.


Whole areas of Punjab, western UP, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka are affected by it. Even the Congress government at the centre was forced to ban the pesticide in 2001. But once it came back to power in 2004, the ban was revoked. Even now the prime minister is only promising a commission of enquiry at most, despite the strong protest by Kerala chief minister V S Achuthanandhan leading a mass hunger strike on April 25 with a protest before parliament by Kerala MPs on the day.


At least seventeen such commissions have already been set up by both the state and central governments, but there has only been an obdurate response from the prime minister whose government is siding blindly with pesticide corporates against the people who have no recourse but to pay the price of their profiteering with their lives. Last year, an international convention was held at Geneva in which 29 countries participated, of whom 26 demanded a ban on Endosulfan. But India, unfortunately, took the position that it need not be banned as its effects were not so harmful. Even the USA has banned the pesticide although its major producer is a US based firm, Monsanto.


The AIKS and AIAWU say they have vowed to fight against the mass poisoning of the Indian people for the sake of more profits for the corporates. Kerala has led the states in studying its effects on farmers and agricultural labourers and banning the pesticide. But even today thousands are dying because of its widespread use in Punjab, where the state government has remained blind to the devastation it has led to. In one district alone, in Bhatinda, thousands are suffering with no compensation either from the government or the companies producing this pesticide. The two organisations say this state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue.


The AIKS and the AIAWU have therefore raised the following demands.

1) Immediate ban by the centre on the use of Endosulfan as had been done in 2001 by the central government before the ban was removed arbitrarily in 2004.

2) A machinery to ensure compensation for the victims of diseases resulting from its use or indirect ingestion of this pesticide’s residues in vegetables and water.

3) The Pesticide Management Bill must provide for ban on all hazardous and extremely hazardous categories of pesticides in a totality, as has already been done in some 65 countries.

4) Introduction of a special medical insurance scheme by the centre, with no contribution from the victims, to pay for its negligence as most of the victims are poor farmers and agricultural labourers who are unable to afford treatment.

5) A legal mechanism must be set up to force the corporates to pay compensation for diseases caused by these pesticides through their direct use or indirect ingestion.


The two organisations have directed all their state units to take up campaigns to educate the rural masses on the dangers of using such pesticides. They must plan agitations for a complete ban on poisonous pesticides, with strict punishment for their clandestine use, and adequate compensation to those who are suffering from their ill effects.