The Kasaragod Declaration: on Endosulfan

The Kasaragod Declaration

from the National Workshop CONCORD 2012 to develop a Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Rebuilding Programme for the Survivors and a Rejuvenation of the Eco-systems in the Endosulfan affected areas of Kasaragod District.

We, the Participants of the National Workshop, that assembled under the Chairmanship of Sri P Karunakaran, MP and that was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of the Kerala State, Sri Oommen Chandy and consisted of the People’s representatives and leaders, activists and members of social, cultural, health and environmental organisations, experts in various fields, the victims and survivors of the endosulfan induced tragedy, the District administration and the Local Self Government members, recognise and accept the importance of rejuvenating the ecology of our land and remediating the health and rehabilitating and rebuilding the social systems of our people.

 We consider it a matter of pride that, as the affected people of Kasaragod, all the struggles that we fought was instrumental in getting a global ban of Endosulfan.

Our efforts to provide relief and remediate the impacted communities in Kasaragod in a  chemical disaster with highly complicated ramifications, had no models that we could follow.   Nevertheless, even in such a situation all of us including Peoples representatives, Government and Voluntary activists developed a democratic, collective process, which we, in this Workshop, reiterate that we will continue till our goal is achieved.

We recognise the impact and the complicated manifestations that the insecticide Endosulfan has caused to our land, people and biodiversity. We also see that problems are appearing afresh each day, many of which have become unpredictable. We also understand that in the areas where the poison was aerially sprayed, the common people, especially the socially and economically backward, continue to lead painful and suffering lives.  We continue to be concerned about the new generation being born with genetic abberations, and the tumultous future that is in store for them as well as the generations to come.

 

The health conditions of the people born in the Endosulfan  impacted areas is complicated. We understand that more efforts need to be taken, than has been done now, to establish the adequate systems and facilities needed to address such a complicated situation. We have understood through our experience that the direct and indirect impacts of the disaster are mostly borne by our women.

 

The various disabilities or different challenges with which many of our children were born have caused serious disruptions to their education.  We recognise that there needs to be more clarity as to the method of education that needs to be rendered to such children.  We understand that it is our responsibility to develop educational models and setup adequate systems to ensure that these children gain the confidence to overcome their difficulties, and to explore and develop their creative skills.

 

We realise that it is our immediate responsibility to take necessary activities to rescue our nature from the environmental impacts caused by the insecticide endosulfan.  We understand that the rejuvenation of the eco-system is a long term challenge.  The priority is to see how  social, economic and cultural sustainability can be established.  We recognise that this National Workshop CONCORD ’12 is an important step towards building a paradigm and action plans for the same.

 

We realise the importance of a collective and concerted process to coordinate the various rehabilitation efforts being taken up. We also realise that we need to establish a dynamic monitoring system to ensure the effective and timely implementation of the planned programmes.

 

With the above understanding that came up from the various discussions and recommendations during the National Workshop, the CONCORD ’12 declares the following…

 

ñ  That we shall undertake adequate measures to improve the quality of life of the surviving people.

ñ  That we shall undertake Short term and Long term measures to convert Kasaragod from a poison affected land to a poison-free land.

ñ  That a comprehensive and integrated health rejuvenation and treatement programme which is both sustainable and free shall be given to all the survivors of Kasaragod through the active participation of all sectors of the society.

ñ  That programmes to revive the confidence of the survivors to enable them to actively participate in their normal social life as well as activities will be undertaken.

ñ  That necessary projects for social rehabilitation will be undertaken for sustainable livelihoods to be established.

ñ  That programmes shall be undertaken to improve the quality of the educational and academic system.

ñ  That the BUDS Schools which provide alternate and special education for those children that cannot go to regular schools for various reasons will be qualitatively improved.

ñ  That a National Research Centre will be established to study the special problems and needs of the affected children and to develop adequate activities for their overall development.

ñ  That development and marketing centres shall be established to develop comprehensive livelihood opportunities that incorporate their full life span, through developing the creative skills of the survivors.

ñ  That efforts shall be take to put continued pressure and intervention to get all the orders of the National Human Rights Commission implemented.

ñ  That efforts shall be undertaken to put pressure on the State and Central Governments to allot adequate funds and support for the socio-economic and ecological rehabilitative programmes.

 

We, the people, who declare solidarity to the affected survivors of the endosulfan tragedy hereby commit that we shall take all efforts and interventions necessary to rejuvenate the ecology of Kasaragod,  to lead our surviving brothers and sisters who are leading a painful life into a life of confidence and dignity, and to lead them to be an integral part of the main stream of society, and to make them a natural part of the social, cultural and political life of our land.

 

 

Decisions on the Preliminary Steps taken

based on the Kasaragod Declaration of the National Workshop CONCORD ’12 conducted at Kasaragod during 22,23 July 2012.

 

  1. 1.  Task Forces has been setup for the Five focus areas. Further coordination will continue under the Endosulfan Victims Relief and Remediation Cell.  A report will be produced in one months time.
  2. 2.  Based on the Central Govt Order that MPs fund can be used for social rehabilitation activities, Sri P Karunakaran MP has allotted Rs. 1 crore for the Endosulfan victims rehabiliation work.
  3. 3.  The Central Government will be requested to declare the Kasaragod Endosulfan Disaster as a National disaster like the Tsunami or Bhopal disasters, and to request each MP to donate Rs. 25 lakh each to the Relief fund for Kasaragod victims.
  4. 4.  A separate delegation will go to the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister requesting the participation and funding of the Central and State Governments in the relief programmes.
  5. 5.  A project proposal will be prepared within two months for a National Relief and Rehabilitation Research Centre, and submitted to NABARD and adequate funds shall be ensured.
  6. 6.  The Endosulfan relief and remediation Cell shall be the coordination agency for all the rehabilitaion programmes happening in Kasaraod by various agencies including the Governemnt agencies and individuals.
  7. 7.  The District Planning Committee shall ensure that all the LSGs  incorporate a biodiversity restoration and rejuvenation programme in their 12th Five Year plan formation. The DPC Chairman and Convener will take the responsibility for the same.
  8. 8.  The Kasaragod Jilla Panchayath will expand and continue the special projects THANAL and Adhijeevanam for the affected victims.

 

 

 

 

 

Mohan Kanda Committee recommendations and issues of concerns

Mohan Kanda Committee on Crop Holiday in AP has submitted its report.  While the committee has adopted a process of consulting various groups and organsations and visiting the farmers who are on the war front declaring the crop holiday, they were silent on many important and critical issues.  for example on the mechanisms of fixing prices, on increasing tenancy costs, increasing absentee land lords etc.  The issue is primarily seen as ‘increased labor costs’ due to NREGA and solutions are seen as ‘Heavy Mechanisation’ (Recently govt announced to set up farmer service centre each costing Rs. 75 lakhs) and linking NREGA .  Allowing exports are seen as a major solution for price rise where as this only benefited the millers and traders, and the price gains were never passed on to farmers.

Download Mohan Kanda Committee Report on ‘Crop Holiday’ in AP

 

  Farmers’ demand Committee Recommendations Government Response Our concern
1 The closure of canals by 1st April & opening by 15th May Recommended based on water availability Agreed
2 Take up repairs and maintenance of canals Modernization of canals in a phased manner Agreed
3 Minimum Support Price to be increased Silent Written to centre to give bonus Government should adopt a transparent process of fixing the prices and should adopt a formula to fix a remunerative price.  Farmer commission’s rec of C2+50 % can be used as a guide.
4 State government to announce bonus of Rs. 200/q Not accepted Will ask centre The price differential between what state has recommended and centre has agreed should be paid as bonus by the state.
5 Government organizations to procure paddy like in Punjab Govt should encourage Markfed, Rytumitra saghas etc.  Farmers participation in such purchases should be encouraged This year 40-50 lakh tons would be purchased 80 % of the procurement should be by the government agencies only
6 Lack of storage space Additional storage space of 25 lakh tons to be created with proper share to konaseema Agreed. Additional 50 lakh ton warehouse facility would be created In addition to creating the storage space, good management systems should be put in place. Today existing space is not used properly.
7 Govt should give farm machinery at 70 % subsidy 3 thousand farmers service centres to be established in state, and 100 for konaseema Agreed.  Mechanization would be encouraged to address the labour shortage. The BIG Mechanization envisaged brings in its own set of ecological and social problems.  Government should look at small farm mechanization and also strengthening the skills of the labor
8 Speedy payment of Crop insurance claims Agreed Agreed.  Weather based insurance is beneficial and would be promoted Insurance should be broad base the claims should be based on village as a unit
9 Speedy payment of input subsidy Agreed Agreed
10 Promote coconut orchards. Govt should appoint a special additional director of horticulture Agreed.  Regional office of coir board to be set up.  Machinery for harvesting coconuts Will pressurize centre to set up regional councils of coconut and oil palm development This will create serious problem. Converting paddy fields into coconut orchards should be discouraged.
11 Scale of finance for paddy to be encouraged from Rs. 17,000 to 25,000/ha Agreed Will suggest to Centre and NABARD Similarly scale of finance for all crops to be increased and access should be increased to tenant farmers.
12 Agriculture works to be included under NREGA Basic infrastructure/ facilities for farming can be created under NREAGA Agreed. Will suggest to centre Labour subsidy to be extended to farming.  Mechanisms to be evolved so that all cultivators can get access to this.  Any other modification will defeat the spirit of NREGA as workers right
13 Crop insurance to be implemented Modified crop insurance to be implemented in West Godavari dist Agreed
14 Crop diversification should be encouraged Fisheries, oil palm, dairy to be encouraged Will promote oil pal, dairy, fisheries. Should be completely discouraged.  This area is not suitable for Oil palm the yields are very low.  The ecological problems with shift towards fisheries and prawn cultivation in paddy areas is well known in this area.  Supreme court has already imposed a ban on this.
15   Govt should announce MSPs and decision on exports should be announced before the season starting.  Levi should be decreased from 75 to 50 % Centre has already lifted ban on exports.  Will ask centre to continue this.  State always has excess production Export is not a panacea.  Export ban lift will only help the millers and the benefits were never passed on to the farmers.

 

Meeting with Parliamentary Standing Commit

Representation to Parliamentary Standing Committee on GM Foods

today we had a wonderful day in the meeting with parliamentary standing committee.
Not sharing in detail as the scientists were asked to be frank and promised that they will not be quoted for what they say…by the committee…

The meeting was well attended by the Scientists from Agri univ, DOR, DRR, NRCS, CRIDA, NBPGR, department of agriculture, farmers unions…
Basudev Acharya in his opening remarks itself mentioned that there is a divided opinion on GM crops and particularly food crops.

Mr. Chaturvedi, member of PSM on agril said he want specific information on
a. whether state want to go for GM not want to go for GM or take a cautious approach till the finding prooves it completely safe.
b. what is the opinion and plan of the govt on farm saved seed as the dependency and monopoly of MNCs is increasing
c. GM foods seems to have been violating consumers choices…
d. how and who will be made accountable in case of contamination fo traditional germplasm
e. what is the relation between bt cotton and farmers suicides.

few others asked
a. why there were animal deaths and what does research has to say?
b. is it true that gm crops requires more fertilisers?
c. do u have any data on reduction in pesticide use?
d. there is a big war between traditional technologies and modern technologies and how they are contributing to improvising traditional practices..
e. is any district biosafety committee is functional? when senior people like u are not able to understand and test the GM related problems how equipped are these committees to handle the issues
f. when 64 % of farmers are small and marginal is there any relevance for these technologies…

from univ there was a presentation by univ…which was a bland presentation….saying we can do wonders and there are some problems like pest resistance, resurgence etc. but she focused more on the process than on any data …and basudev commented saying from ur presentation i can only understand that the problems are more than advantages.

on the soil fertility the univ said it wont need more fertilisers and their data shows that the nitrogen in plants is more…dont no why…
i quoted their farm almanac recommending 15 % more fertiliser.
one member said he has seen farmers complaining that second crop being effected…and specifically can u answer whether farmers are using more or ru recommending more…he could nt say anything…the committee said..looks like u havent done any research…without which we cannot come to any conclusion of its benefits…

on the animal deaths…again univ said animals cannot die…hukum dev narayan said this is unfair…and if animals have not died because of bt cotton…u should explore what are the reasons…my personal experience shows that abortions and deaths in animals have increased in bt cotton growing areas….and have u done any study on the impact of the cotton cake on the cattle milk and human health and there was no response….

MA Khan, MP from AP said…the monopoly of monsanto is increasing and no one is able to stand…AP govt which could fight till recently has lost out this year…and if this happens with food crops the situation would be worse.

on pesticide use the scientists said it is coming down but the report submitted to the committee was otherwise.

the committee was serious on illegal spread of HT cotton…commissioner said it was only field trials and they have uprooted them…one of the member had data from the state govt report to GEAC saying 20,000 acres of HT cotton district wise…and said u cannot say it is a trial and u failed to book the culprit…why farmers should bear the burden?

Farmers Federation representative… was as usual saying when my mobile ur mike and all our vehicles are from MNC why should farmers be worried about MNC seed and it is not farmers responsibility’s for national food security and farmers want technology. Mr. chaturvedi…said we appreciate ur concern and u have freedom to say what u want and we understand it is our responsibility to safeguard farmers and consumers interests and thats why we are hear…and food is different from cell phones……

among the audience…saraswati could get time for few questions…two farmers from guntur spoke well …saying they need technology but not problems…bt cotton had several problems and every one is irresponsible.

i could get good time to intervene almost on every point to counter what univ was saying….and in the end..basudev gave good time…
we submitted a written memorandum attached…..

The committee asked to send any further information we want to share with them