LDF hartal for ban on Endosulfan affects normal life

Normal life was crippled in Kerala today following a dawn-to-dusk strike being observed by the ruling Marxist-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) to press its demand for a nationwide ban on the production and use of Endosulfan pesticide.

Police said no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the state.

A majority of shops and business establishments remained closed, public transport went off the roads and government offices functioned with thin attendance as LDF activists staged protest marches across the states to protest against the pro-Endosulfan stand taken by the Centre at the Stockholm Convention.

Addressing the activists here, CPI(M) state Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said it was a shame on the part of the Central Government to support the "killer pesticide".

He alleged that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had taken a pro-Endosulfan stand when an all-party delegation from Kerala visited him recently to press for the demand for a ban on it.

"Though 16 studies have clearly established the ill-effects of Endosulfan, the Centre wanted to buy time in the name of further studies," he added.

The LDF strike comes close on the heels of a day-long hunger strike by Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan here recently on the issue.

Meanwhile, the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee alleged that the strike call given by the LDF lacked conviction because the Achuthanandan government could not enforce the ban in the state during the five years it was in power. The government also failed to take steps to provide compensation and implement a rehabilitation package for the victims of endosulfan, it said.


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