Sunday, 18 August 2013

Spray of Misery

The villagers have turned to the judiciary for remedy. They have obtained a stay order from the Kasargod munsiff court against the aerial spraying. The petition will probably come up for hearing before the next spraying season in October. Meanwhile, they are looking up for help from the government and related bodies.

Life in Swarga, however evocative the name of the village, is far from heavenly. Nestled among areca and cashew plantations in Kerala’s Kasargod district, it is a hellish land plagued by diseases and suffering.

“Strange illnesses have afflicted these villages and there is no thorough study on why this is so,” “There are around 300 cases of various kinds of abnormalities in just this small area”. An enumeration in January in the 4-sq km Padre village, home to about 400 families, showed three cancer patients, 23 epilepsy patients, 46 cancer deaths, 23 mental and 43 psychiatric cases, nine congenital anomalies and nine suicides—adding up to 156 instances of health problems. Another doctor working in the region, Shripati Kajampady, says, “We have seen a gradual deterioration in the quality of life here. There are more people struck by diseases here than in other villages. There is something definitely wrong”.

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