The Supreme Court has allowed the export of 2698.056 KL of endosulfan formulation. The three judge bench comprising chief justice SH Kapadia, justice K S P Radhakrishnan and justice Swatantar Kumar passed the order on December 13, 2011.
The court had earlier granted permission to export 1090.596 MT of technical grade endosulfan on September 30, 2011. At the December hearing, the court permitted 34 units of manufacturers and formulators to export the existing stock of endosulfan formulation by converting it into exportable unit.
The supreme court appointed joint committee had pointed out earlier that a quantity of 2698.056 KL of Endosulfan Formulation was lying in stock, unsold as an inventory. On November 21, the Pesticides Manufacturers and Formulators Association of India (PMFAI) filed an interim application to export the stock.
The three judge bench comprising chief justice SH Kapadia, justice Swatantar Kumar and justice KSP Radhakrishnan observed that while they were definitely not going to allow it's use in India if there were other countries interested then they should be allowed to import it.
The Democratic Youth Federation of India, the petitioners in the case, however had intervened and said that this was a ploy of the manufacturers to take more orders and expand business. The PMFAI counsel and senior advocate Harish Salve assured the court that this wasn't being done to increase export orders but to meet the export demand. The court had granted permission to export 1090.596 MT of technical grade endosulfan, while the export orders are for 1734 MT.
On December 13, the bench approved the three main manufacturers Hindustan Insecticides,Excel Crop Care and Coromandel International to meet and decide the existing quantity of endosulfan formulation which each of the three companies could dilute, repackage and export.
Hindustan Insecticides Limited,a public sector undertaking, shall communicate the same to the PMFAI. The rest of the 31 units will then hand over their respective quantities of formulation to the three main exporters. But the first preference will be given to Hindustan Insecticides- any amount beyond that will then be distributed to Excel Crop Care and the remaining to Coromandel International.
The cost of repackaging and export will be borne by the manufacturers who want their endosulfan to be exported. The court emphasized that proper precautions while exporting should be taken. The court also cleared that the permission to export formulations in no way is an approval to manufacture any more endosulfan. It reiterated that the ban on manufacture, sale and use of endosulfan imposed on May 13 this year continues. The next hearing is scheduled for January 20, 2012.
In the meantime
Manufacturers tried hard to get the ban on the sale and manufacture of endosulfan lifted. In their affidavit filed on November 5, they reiterated their stand that though it is alleged that there are health impacts of endosulfan in Kasaragod and Dakshin Kanada, there is no causative link established between the pesticide and the health problems. These claims were rubbished by the petitioners.
The petitioners countered the PMFAI affidavit by stating that there were nearly 316 peer reviewed and published studies that show that endosulfan has severe health impacts. The synopsis of these studies had been submitted to the court by the petitioners.
Kerala was pulled up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for not paying adequate compensation to the victims of endosulfan in Kasaragod in the state. The commission issued a notice to the state. The commission is also planning to approach the Supreme Court for execution of its orders for paying rupees 500,000 to the next of kin of the victims who lost their lives or were rendered unfit due to the harmful effects of the pesticide.
The state government announced an increase in the compensation from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 100,000 to the victims. The state sought central assistance for payment of compensation as the state government alone could not pay the entire amount.
The Oomen Chandy government issued a government order to reshuffle the district level relief and rehabilitation cell keeping the civil society out of it. The cell is yet to be dissolved.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, acting in his capacity as a depository, issued a notification on October 27. It stated that the international phase-out of endosulfan with certain exemptions under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants will come into effect by the end of October 2012.