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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Sangh Parivar stands divided on ‘swadeshi’ endosulfan

On the question of imposing a ban on endosulfan — a raging controversy in Kerala which has assumed political colours after Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan accused the UPA government of favouring the pesticide lobby — the BJP is a divided house.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
April 27, 2011 12:27:23 am

On the question of imposing a ban on endosulfan — a raging controversy in Kerala which has assumed political colours after Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan accused the UPA government of favouring the pesticide lobby — the BJP is a divided house. After a committee appointed by the party in Gujarat concluded that “there are no health problems that can be associated to the exposure to endosulfan” and recommended its continued use — contrary to the party’s official view that it should be banned — the Swadeshi Jagran Manch has now opposed the countrywide ban on endosulfan.

Significantly,another BJP-ruled state,Karnataka — which shares its border with affected Kasargode district of Kerala — has already imposed a ban on the pesticide. Also,senior BJP leader from Kerala O Rajagopal on Monday joined a day-long satyagraha organised by the Left Front government and led by VS seeking a countrywide ban on the use of the pesticide.

The contradictions in the BJP and the Sangh Parivar have a swadeshi twist now. The Jagran Manch has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arguing that endosulfan is a “swadeshi product” and cannot be banned as it is cost-effective for farmers.

“In the past,it was observed that lot of foreign funds were being used for imposing ban on manufacturing and use of endosulfan,where the motives are different and against the interests of the Indian farmers,” wrote the Swadeshi Jagran Manch. It has been proved time and again,it said,that the pesticide does not have any hazardous effect on the health of farmers,animals and workers engaged in its production.

The BJP,on the other hand,has supported the demand for a nationwide ban on endosulfan.

“We are in favour of banning endosulfan,” BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said. In fact,BJP’s Kerala unit president V Muraleedharan was part of the all party delegation that met the PM last week to press for a ban.

The Gujarat government’s differences with the party’s official position may be guided by the large chemical industry base in the state. In fact,two of the three endosulfan manufacturing units in the country are in Gujarat which provide employment to nearly 24,000 people.

The Gujarat government instituted an 11-member committee in December last year to evaluate the safety aspects of endosulfan. The committee,which was headed by the Vice-Chancellor of Maharaja Sayajirao University,Vadodara,submitted its report last month. The Swadeshi Jagran Manch has appended this report with its letter to the PM.

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