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Kerala govt gives written assurance to meet demands of activist Daya Bai


Published on: October 18, 2022 | Updated on: October 18, 2022

A file photo of Daya Bai (DC)

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has given a written assurance of meeting the demands of social activist Daya Bai, who is on a hunger strike seeking justice for Endosulfan victims of Kasaragod district.

This comes a day after State ministers R Bindhu and Veena George visited Daya Bai at the general hospital here and requested her to end the fast, while promising to meet 90 percent of the demands put forth.

However, the 81-year-old activist has decided to continue her strike here, saying some of her demands were not fulfilled.

"She will rewrite the demands after discussing with her group members and submit them before the ministers. She has not called-off her strike," sources close to her, told PTI.

Health Minister Veena George's office said written assurances were handed over to Daya Bai based on the meeting with state ministers on Sunday.

Daya Bai began her indefinite hunger strike in front of the state secretariat here, on October 2.

She alleged that the state government had abandoned the victims.

After holding talks with the ministers, the social activist had said she will not back down from her strike unless a written assurance was received from the government.

Endosulfan, an organochlorine insecticide and acaricide was used widely on crops like cashew, cotton, tea, paddy, fruits and others until 2011 in Kerala, when the apex court banned its production and distribution. Endosulfan's toxic effects on humans and related health hazards are well-known.

Daya Bai is on strike to ensure proper and better healthcare facilities in the Kasaragod district, where there are a maximum number of victims.

Ministers explained to her the steps taken to meet all the demands of the victims. They said Kasaragod medical college and a speciality hospital at Kanhangad were nearing completion.

The social activist was shifted to a hospital on October 4 after her health deteriorated. On October 8, Leader of Opposition, V D Satheesan, visited Daya Bai and pledged his support to her.

The social activist had sought to ensure better healthcare facilities in the Kasaragod district and also demanded that an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) be set up there.

The Supreme Court had on May 13 pulled up the Kerala government for not paying the compensation of Rs five lakh to each of the victims of toxic pesticide Endosulfan and directed the Chief Secretary to hold monthly meetings and ensure necessary medical help to them.

The top court had in January 2017 directed the CPI(M)-led government to disburse compensation and rehabilitation package for endosulfan pesticide victims.

The court had ordered the government to provide a compensation of Rs five lakh each to the next of kin of those who died following exposure to the pesticide and those who became bed-ridden or mentally challenged.

Earlier, the state government had prepared a list of 5,837 victims. A monthly pension was being given to 4,376 affected people.