The tiny tots at the Aided Upper Primary School in Podavur village continue their endeavour to conserve environment and energy.

This time around, they not only managed to save 3,939 units of electricity during August-September in select households in a nearby locality but have sent out a strong message against wasteful power consumption at a time when the State is seriously debating the rising energy use in the backdrop of a grim power scenario.

The ongoing agitation seeking swift relief and rehabilitation package for the hundreds of endosulfan victims has taken a curious turn with the victims and their families in the district sending letters to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking its intervention.

While several affected family members residing in remote villages sent the letters to the NHRC in their respective post offices, quite a few families under the aegis of Endosulfan Peeditha Janakeeya Munnai staged a march to the General Post Office here on Human Rights Day on Monday and sent individual letters to the NHRC.

The State government has sanctioned Rs.60.87 lakh for providing educational assistance to endosulfan-affected families.

Minister for Panchayats and Social Welfare M.K. Muneer will inaugurate the disbursement of the assistance at Uppala in Kasaragod district on November 22. The Kerala Social Welfare Mission, which is providing the assistance, had received 2,292 applications for aid. The Minister will hand over the assistance to 12 children on Thursday. Assistance will be sent to others the same day by electronic money order, an official release said on Tuesday.

The Endosulfan Peeditha Janakeeya Munnani on Thursday took out a march to the District Collector’s office seeking the implementation of the relief and rehabilitation package for victims.

Endosulfan Peeditha Janakeeya Munnani march today

District Collector P.S. Mohammed Sagir has said here that there is no ground to be apprehensive about the compensation due to the families of endosufan victims. The district administration had been informed about the apprehension of the families that they might be deprived of the compensation suggested by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). There was no need to worry about the government’s intentions, he said in a press release issued here on Wednesday.

Lays emphasis on long-term monitoring

Groundwater resources in Kerala have come under increasing stress from rising levels of exploitation and pollution, the first aquifer atlas of Kerala has revealed. The atlas, compiled by the Central Ground Water Board, estimates the net annual groundwater availability in the State at 6.01 billion cubic metres as on March 2011. The stage of “groundwater development” for the State as a whole has been computed at 47 per cent. The utilisation pattern is, however, uneven across the State, with groundwater-stressed conditions in some parts and sub-optimal groundwater development in some others.

The Western Ghats Protection Committee (WGPC) seeks a detailed study of the tremors felt in certain parts of Kasaragod and Kannur districts on October 14. It feels that the tremors could be the fallout of uncontrolled and illegal granite and laterite mining in the region.

A meeting held here on Monday condemned the false propaganda that the Madhav Gadgil report on the Western Ghats had anti-farmer suggestions in it. The biodiversity of the Western Ghats sustains farming in Kerala and the State would not have simply existed if not for the ghats.

A meeting of the Endosulfan Relief and Remediation Cell here on Tuesday decided to hold a panchayat-level sitting by health and panchayat officials by November 15 before publishing the final list of victims of the pesticide in the district. The final list is expected to clear the confusion over who all deserve to be on the list.

The decision was taken following widespread criticism raised by panchayat officials that a newly classified list was published without informing officials of the affected panchayats, officials said.

Fresh evidence has emerged about prevalence of endosulfan residues in the groundwater of Kasaragod district and recent use of the pesticide in the area.

A study by P.S. Akhil and C.H. Sujatha of the Department of Chemical Oceanography of Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) reported that organochlorine insecticides, particularly high concentrations of endosulfan and BHC (hexachlorobenzene), were persisting in the environment. This was despite restrictions on use of BHC, and ban imposed by the High Court and the government on use of endosulfan. The pesticide residues which remained in the soil from earlier application become the source of pollution of water bodies through land runoff, leaching and ultimately contaminate drinking water sources.

The Plantation Corporation of Kerala, the public sector company promoting cash crops, has decided to seek State Government’s permission to move court against the manufactures of Endosulfan, which includes public sector firms like Hindustan Insecticides Limited (HIL).

Endosulfan is an off-patent pesticide recently banned in the country for its toxic effects on humans. According to the corporation chairman Varghese George, the manufacturers were actually responsible for the tragedy that had struck several villages in Kasaragod. Mr George was referring to large-scale congenital deformities reported in Kasaragod district.