NHRC notices to Centre, Punjab Govt over pesticide health hazards

ANI | Updated: Jan 31, 2018 22:37 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan 31 (ANI): The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday issued notices to the Punjab government and the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare over the reports of serious diseases in the Malwa region due to excessive use of pesticides and insecticides.

The NHRC has taken suo motu cognisance of a media report about how excessive use of pesticides and insecticides have left a residue of heavy metals in soil and groundwater causing various serious diseases to many people in the Malwa region of Punjab.

The NHRC issued notices to the chief secretary of the state and secretary of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, seeking a detailed report within six weeks.

The Commission also observed that it seems that even after the lapse of a period of more than 7 years, the things have not moved and the people residing in the Malwa region are still suffering from various diseases including cancer, liver failure, renal failure, birth defects and so on.

A study, reportedly conducted by the Baba Farid Centre for Special Children, an NGO, suggested that "heavy metals may be responsible for a steady decline in sperm count, disturbed ovulation cycles, increasing menstrual disorders, sterility, spontaneous abortions, premature births and birth defects", the Commission said.

"The negligence by the state authorities has caused a grave violation of human rights of these people. Due to these diseases, poor victims are not able to lead a normal life with dignity. The insensitive approach of the administration is apparent", the Commission said.

"It is further stated that Punjab, especially the Malwa region is reeling under the 'cocktail effect' of heavy metals. The Green Revolution of the 60s' and 70s' resulted in the dumping of dangerous chemicals such as endosulfan and these pesticides are still in use in Punjab, long after they were banned", it continued.

Earlier, in 2011 also, the Commission had taken suo motu cognisance of a report raising similar issues. (ANI)