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    Left MPs demand ban on endosulfan pesticide

    New Delhi: A group of Left MPs on Tuesday held a protest in Parliament House demanding a ban on endosulfan pesticide and questioned whether the reluctance on part of the government to take action in this regard pointed to another "scam".

    "We demand a nationwide ban on the pesticide. We wonder why there is no ban or is it pointing towards a scam. They say we are politicising the issue. But it is not so. We are just raising a humanitarian issue," CPI(M) Politburo member Sitaram Yechury said.

    There is a demand for banning the pesticide across the country with Kerala Chief Minister VS Achutanandan leading the agitation by going on a day-long fast on Monday. The use of endosulfan, which is already banned in Kerala, had led to serious health hazards in Kasargod district.

    Rajya Sabha member P Rajeeve said the Left parties were demanding a country-wide ban on pesticide. "We are protesting the stand taken by the country at the Stockholm Conference which is dealing with the question of banning the pesticide," he said.

    PK Biju, a CPI(M) MP in Lok Sabha, said 84 countries have already banned the pesticide. "There has been 16 conventions earlier. What we need from the government is a strong stand on the issue at the Stockholm Conference," he

    The Government yesterday said it would take a view on the issue "in the best interest of the country" after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) submits its report.

    "The use of Endosulfan has been banned in Kerala. However, imposing a nationwide ban would require national consensus backed by scientific study," a PMO release said after Oommen Chandy, Leader of Opposition in Kerala and KPCC chief Ramesh Chennithala met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

    Noting that a committee chaired by Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) was presently examining the harmful effects of Endosulfan on the health of the people, the PMO said the Committee would be asked to "expedite" its report.

    An all party delegation from the state met the Prime Minister on February 22 and urged him to impose a nation-wide ban on the pesticide. The delegation stated that the use of the pesticide had led to serious health hazards in Kasargod.