A picture for the personal album of Sharad Pawar

“The endosulfan controversy is typical of India, of Indian politics, of Indian corruption, of Indian morality. There were 173 countries in the Stockholm Convention that debated whether or not there should be a global ban on this notorious pesticide. Of these 125 had banned it outright. All 47 of the remaining 48 sat on the fence and generally kept quiet. Only one argued vehemently on behalf of endosulfan. That one-in-the-world nation was India….

“Eighty expert teams have reported on the victims of endosulfan in Kasargod in north Kerala (bordering Mangalore) where children have been born with horrible defects. Yet the Government keeps saying that expert studies were needed before a ban could be considered. Sharad Pawar was the sole fighter for endosulfan initially. Later the Prime Minister and the green warrior Jairam Ramesh joined him…. Scepticism is in order when decisions about poisons in our water bodies and soil and food chains are in the hands of people like Sharad Pawar.”

Thus wrote the veteran editor-author-columnist, T.J.S. George.

For the benefit of the likes of Sharad Pawar, who seems to run the agriculture ministry only if there is some spare time while running his various businesses and international cricket—and for the benefit of Manmohan Singh, whose government seems beholden to multinational corporations selling BT seeds and GM foods—the victims of endosulfan show what the pesticide has done to their children, at a protest organised by the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, in Mangalore on Tuesday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: T.J.S. George on the endosulfan controversy

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28 Responses to “A picture for the personal album of Sharad Pawar”

  1. chanakya Says:

    Congress is ruining India from all possible angles. But why most of the people are still unaware of it? life is becoming harder and harder for common man during Congress tenure. Every thing is becoming dearer, petrol, food stuffs etc…..
    And amidst of all these, our shameless governor acts like a congress agent. And the administration gets affected for all his monkey like acts,,,
    Oh god (If you are there) please save us,..

  2. Shrinivas Says:

    Just curious how much pesticide content is present in the water Mr. Pawar drinks.

  3. Mahesh Vijapurkar Says:

    If only Sharad Pawar had weighed in favour of the people and not the pesticide lobby. But then, we are talking about politicians, aren’t we?

  4. Narayana Says:

    I used to read about Endosulfan related physical deformities in late 80s in news paper in then Dakshina Kannada district. Even after 30 years if this has not been banned there is something seriously wrong with India.

  5. Suresh Says:

    There are even more fearsome pictures of endosulfan effects( reported in most of the malayalam journals/newspapers throughout) to be kept in personal album of honorable ministers!!

  6. Puneet Says:

    @Shrinivas: You guess it from his face, his intents are as ugly as his face.

  7. nilesh Says:

    what has sharad pawar to do with it.

    The right person is Jairam Ramesh and he has stated that it was kerala government which sprayed endosulfan much more than the desired dosage.

    Punjab is the largest user, why are there no adverse report. Why just Kasargod??

    I trust Jairam

  8. Pawan Says:

    Sharad Pawar is behind all the price rise in agriculture commodities. He was direct beneficiary of jump in sugar price. he is the man who is responsible for thousands of tons of grains rotting in the open. And it is done delibrately to keep prices high. These days only Land Mafia and criminals are running the country.

  9. Angry Young Man Says:

    Politicians in India have eclectic physical appearances. Ugly faces, cruel faces, selfish faces, slimy faces, rowdy faces, stupid faces, cunning faces and so on.

    But among all this diversity, a handful of faces stand out for exuding pure, unadulterated sinfulness. And in that rarefied company belongs the face of Sharad Pawar.

    If there ever was a man who will rot in hell for eternity, this is the one.

  10. nss Says:

    Today it is those unfortunate people…tomorrow it may be us… Today it’s endosulfan…tomorrow it’s even more fearsome killers… How do v go about ending this senseless lobby??

  11. Aruna Says:

    Only one sensible comment in the first nine? Cheesy Churumuri hangs a gut wrenching photo, puts bit more icing on TJS’ piece and wahlah…every one is after Pawar. Ladies and Gents, before you nod to what ever green loonies (and left libs) shout, please think twice.

    The tin bottle of endosulfan (off patent) is the most used pesticide in India, and this has been the case for decades. It is cheap and does it job rather well in tropical climate.
    Probably all of you have been eating the endosulfan sprayed greens, veggies and fruits ever since you teethed. If it was as dangerous as the photo depicts, you, along with me, would be dead by now.

    The human tragedy in South Canara and Karasagod is because of improper usage i.e. spraying without much health and safety precautions.

    The alternative to Endosulfan is at least 7 times expensive. Who will compensate the farmer?

  12. Faldo Says:

    @Aruna – well made point. The use of Endosulfan has been going on for decades. It is probably irresponsible spraying that has contributed most to the problems seen by this pesticide.
    Many countries have announced a ban in principle but are only gradually phasing it out. A few countries including India and China continue to use it though individual states have announced a ban. With time one could hopefully see a gradual reduction in its use. However, rather than sesationalising this issue, a clear phase out plan should be implemented.

  13. 'mudi'malnad Says:

    @Aruna
    your argument is absolute BS.
    Endosulphan for sure a neurotoxic and endocrine manipulator ( for godsake it’s a potentiates estrogen, which is a female hormone). Its cancer causing properties are debatable, thats why you don’t see people dropping dead, but other effects you are seeing right in front of you. ‘girls’ maturing early(there are other reasons but this is true too) and ‘boys’ late. Is there any other reason you see so many “hydrocephalous”( water filled brain chambers) cases? Their suffering is worse than dropping dead they have to suffer while living.
    Even with ‘safest’ precaution, this stuff accumulates in environment. just for FYI, halflife( thats the timetaken to reduce its effectiveness by half) of this product is 9 months to 6 years. That means even after 25 years you see the traces.
    As narayana said they are writing it since 80’s( Tharanga, udayavani, I don’t see anybody’s ulterior motive then & now, except a society’s well being)
    Just because you have to pay seven times on alternatives, you don’t mind poisoning any body, you are heartless. But you forgot the basic ‘business model’ of demand & supply, once the production of alternatives starts in full force, the prices drop invariably.

  14. Prashanth Anantharaman Says:

    The Agriculture did exist before the use of Endosulfan thing…So why don’t that process of Organic Agriculture be researched by the agriculture Univ’s/Researchers/Govt and help the people…instead of just going this “non-organic” way….

    Just my 2 cents(Pls ignore my non-agriculture background)

    Besides that, For sure Sharad Pawar is an A** H*** (not for this Endo ting but for everything else).

    He has the greatest curse of people on him for letting the grains rot, destabilize the commodity prices while he was busy in Dubai with his Cricket affairs….

    Pls don’t blame our Clean PM MMS, heard he cleans his hand manytimes at his house…..

  15. Yaaralli Says:

    Kasargod in north Kerala (bordering Mangalore) ??

  16. Narayana Says:

    @Aruna,
    Some feedback.
    Your comment
    “Probably all of you have been eating the endosulfan sprayed greens, veggies and fruits ever since you teethed. If it was as dangerous as the photo depicts, you, along with me, would be dead by now.”

    Feedback; The toxicity is measured in three dimensions in EPA studies.
    1) What is the risk to farm workers and people in immediate vicinity of the field?
    2) How long does the insecticide stay on the farm produce and what happens to end consumer eating the farm produce?
    3) What happens afterwards. Does the residue continue to accumulate posing dangers as it gets built in higher concentration in the environment.

    EndoSulfan failed in 1st and 3rd criteria. EPA concluded that there is not much risk in eating farm produce treated with endosulfan but there is significant risk for farm workers who inhale endosulfan and that is why EPA is deregistering Endosulfan.

    That may explain why nothing happened to you even after you ate endosulfan coated veggies but different effects are evident on people who inhale endosulfan. It is akin to drinking snake venom and claiming it is safe to drink and hence must be safer to inject!!! That argument of yours suffers serious demerits.

  17. Aruna Says:

    @’mudi’malnad
    The problem is not what is inside the tin, the tragedy lies in how it was used. To paraphrase Doddi Buddi on this forum: Knives are used to kill people, so they should be banned. Isn’t it?

    @Narayan and @’mudi’malnad
    The 1997 pesticide journal measures half life of endosulfan in India at 40 days compared to much longer half life in colder countries.

    Apart from that 1997 paper, there has been no good peer-reviewd research published on this. No data to back-up what is being claimed. Please do read this news report.
    http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/201104/s3201024.htm

    @ P Anantharaman
    Agreed that agriculture existed before pesticides but as the cliche goes about necessity being in the mother…pesticides exist for a reason too as there are more and more hungry stomachs to be fed now than then.

  18. 'mudi'malnad Says:

    @Aruna,
    Following are headlines from articles published in scientific journals.(you can read at the least abstract/conclusion if you cut and paste in Google) There are many more……
    1) The pesticides endosulfan, toxaphene, and dieldrin have estrogenic effects on human estrogen-sensitive cells.
    2) Bioaccumulative potential and toxicity of endosulfan insecticide to non-target animals ( Kindly cut and paste this on google) fromcomaprative physiology and Biochemistry journal 1993
    3) Effect of endosulfan on male reproductive development.
    4)Effect of Organophosphorus and Organochlorine Pesticides on Effect of Organophosphorus and Organochlorine Pesticides (Monochrotophos, Chlorpyriphos, Dimethoate, and Endosulfan) on Human Lymphocytes In‐Vitro
    5) Endosulfan and its metabolites in fertile women, placenta, cord blood, and human milk
    =============================================
    I remember my favorite KP Poornachandra Tejasvi, writing series of articles on”Fukuoka” methods/ natural farming in Lankesh Patrike. (& then a written book called ” Sahaja Krishi”) Fukuoka’s book is translated to Kannada titled “ondu hullina kranthi” by Kushtagi.
    ===========================================

    @Aruna
    There was a blog in churumuri with a headline
    “Life is the chief cause of death Do we ban life?
    Doddi Buddi’s comment I will leave it to him to answer

  19. Narayana Says:

    @aruna,

    I guess you did not understand my point.

    Neurotoxins have to enter blood to cause effect. Eating them probably is safe unless you have lesions in your digestive system.

    Endosulfan is a neurotoxin and farm workers who inhale endosulfan while spraying the insecticide are exposed to considerable risks and that is the reason Endosulfan got banned in many countries.
    Half life argument only addresses point 2 in my earlier response. EPA did not find fault with point 2. It is point 1 that identified grave danger to farm workers.
    In the case of Dakshina Kannada it was hapless families that lived near farms got exposed to Endosulfan in air that did damage.

    @Aruna,

    Your reference was Pesticide Journal (1997).

    1) Start referring later journals.
    Science is not static.Browse through later journals to see if that view point on endosulfan not staying in environment is true. Specifically I remember Inuit Indians who exclusively survive on marine mammals getting exposed to endosulfan because endosulfan tends to get concentrated in animal fat. Even though endosulfan half life in the open is short, once it reaches fat tissue it can stay forever. This also is documented in EPA red document. Red document is around 200 pages and is a summary of various research papers. Latest RED document is probably created few months ago when Endosulfan needed reregistration and EPA denied it.
    2) Start reading medical journals and not just Pesticide Journals.
    Pesticide Journal will provide view point from pesticide manufacturer. You need to go for medical literature or use EPA studies to get other side. After reading pros and cons you take a stand. 120 odd countries felt cons far outweigh pros and hence banned Endosulfan.
    3) India will always claim EndoSulfan is safe.
    It is not just Farmer lobby that wants Endosulfan. India is world’s largest manufacturer of Endosulfan. Moneybags who are behind Endosulfan trade do not want ban worldwide. There is not much difference between Union Carbide that manufactured dangerous chemicals in Bhopal and current Endosulfan manufacturer who supplies whole of the World’s supply of this poison from India. So obviously you will hear lot of psuedo research in likes of pesticide journal that can be used to hoodwink semi literate people called Indian scientists and illiterate people called Indian babus

  20. vikram Says:

    really! i don’t know why? why not Kerala govt.just ban it in kerala. if modi can ban alcohol in Gujarat then why not Kerala govt just ban it in kerala. it is really sick to see how inhuman these politicians are..

  21. 'mudi'malnad Says:

    In today’s VK/many other newspapers,
    there is an article with the headline” doctors failed to give proof on endosulphan in mysore”( dr katoch committee).
    Why this drama of committees and fact finding missions? Who keeps medical records in Government hospitals, for that matter 99% of private hospitals? Even if it is from endosulphan then they will ask highly sophisticated lab tests to prove it. At this rate Endosulphan WILLNOT be banned in India.
    Don’t they refer to scientific journals. Very first scientific report on side effects came in 1968(yes sixty eight). If any body knows this Dr Y Mohan Kumar, please please tell him to refer and cite the articles mentioned by me and Narayana or forward these articles to Dr Katoch. There are many more if you do more research.

  22. Sugeeth Says:

    @Narayana: Lets get the technical stuff out and what the scientists say. Such things can never be conceived by the average farmer. ( to whom this decision matters the most.) I am from the farmer community myself, and we continue to be involved in agriculture in kerala and have been using it for many years.

    No farmer will say that endosulfan is not harmful. But the realistic state of 2011 agriculture is that without chemical pesticides, you and I will have absolutely nothing to eat. Pests have grown more and more resistant and if you dont use chemical pesticides, rest assured that your crop is destroyed. Organic manure can only act as a fertilizer as a booster along with pesticide, but cannot function independently.

    Now let me come to the point. As far as the cardamom industry is concerned, endosulfan is used a lot. If the government wants to ban it, it can, but what is the replacement to the farmer? What alternative does he have? You just cant come and ban something suddenly when it has been used for decades. Without endosulfan ( not only endosulfan, some more important pesticides are also banned), most crops will rot resulting in low yield and unthinkable price rise.

    Once a realistic viable alternative for endosulfan is developed, well tested ( which might be 3 or 4 successful crop seasons / as agriculture is dependent on various factors), then we can think of banning it.

    And if used properly, the way it is supposed to be handled, diluted with the right proportions of water before being sprayed, hands washed properly with soap after usage, nothing harmful is going to happen, atleast not to the scale of what is being depicted in the picture. ( It is quite likely that if the people affected in large scale in one region, it might be that endosulfan was mistakenly corrupted into a well or river. This might be the case for any substance, leave alone a pesticide.)

  23. 'mudi'malnad Says:

    @sugeeth,
    This is the link to worldbank source
    http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTSOCIALDEVELOPMENT/Resources/244362-1278965574032/CMSA-Final.pdf
    This was their conclusion ( this study was done 1.36 million acres of farm land)”Replacement of endosulfan with alternative practices
    significantly reduced costs and increased farmers’ incomes”.
    ============================================
    Any scientific study’s end user and beneficiary is ‘common man’
    ===========================================
    My father had stopped using this stuff on our cardamom crop long back (or any other thing,)

  24. Sugeeth Says:

    @mudi malnad: We have been using this pesticide for a long time. I wonder how come such effects ( atleast to the scale as shown by those affected ) have not happened to us. As i have said earlier, it must have been a case where in , it was not used the way , it is meant to be. A case of accident, like the Bhopal tragedy.

    EVEN IF THE PESTICIDE IS TOXIC: HOW DOES ONE STOP USING IT WITHIN 10 DAYS AFTER USING IT FOR YEARS? THAT IS ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE. WE LIVE IN A DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY, WHERE EVERY PARTY’s INTEREST NEED TO BE SATISFIED. WHAT WAS DECIDED AT STOCKHOLM WAS ACCEPTABLE, REMOVED IN A PHASED OUT MANNER, BUT ACHUTANANDAN STEPPED IN, AND GOT HIS PUBLICITY AND THROWN US INTO JEOPARDY.

  25. Sugeeth Says:

    @mudi malnad : You claim that your father stopped using it on his cardamom crop. I really doubt if you had a cardamom plantation, ever or if you ever know something about agriculture. Now, you show me a research study on alternative pesticide for Endosulfan tested in Andhra Pradesh for some rice in a low farm land with humid climate and you expect me to interpolate the same results to cardamom, our soil and in our hilly regions?

    I’d except a layman to buy this logic, but not one who says that his father once owned a cardamom plantation.

  26. 'mudi'malnad Says:

    @sugeeth
    I have nothing more to say/or add except we(my family) have ‘clear conscience’of not using it. We own no more plantations.
    The facts are right in front of you. As a grownup adult, you have all the liberty to do what you feel right.
    One thing for sure happens in the future, these countries(India is the only country still dilly dallying with all this drama by forming committees etc) who have banned endosulphan will ban the exports from the countries who are still using it. Be prepared for that day.

  27. Sugeeth Says:

    @mudi malnad: You are entirely missing the point. I have not argued about the banning of endosulfan, but only want it in a phased manner until a sure shot replacement is found. How can something that has been used for decades be suddenly stopped in 10 days?

    This issue has been around since 2001, and Achutanandan has been vouching for its ban since 2006. My simple question is that – he has every right to vouch for its ban, but what is the tried and tested alternative that is going to replace endosulfan after 10 days is the question most people dont seem to answer. That is the question that the cardamom farmers are putting forward, to which sadly even the court is not giving an answer.

    The immediate banning of endosulfan is nothing but a hasty decision taken in the heat of human emotion without looking at the concerns of all the party’s involved.

  28. 'mudi'malnad Says:

    @sugeeth,
    We did own for almost 40 years,(As my ‘screen’ name suggests I am from malnad. our major crop was coffee. may be an acre of cardamom so. He grew any thing and everything possible like pepper, orange, areca nut, banana etc. My knowledge is less than ‘limited’ ( I never said I am an expert, my point was we stopped using endosulphan) because I didn’t stay much with him. I had to study outside because of ‘limited’ educational resources at my native place. From childhood, I knew plantation was not my forte.
    One thing for sure he didn’t use endosulphan. He did use both organic manure ( cow-dung, at one time, we had cows too,) with chemicals like coper sulphate, another fungicide etc.)
    About banning, I agree with you. you can’t do this in 10 days

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