Belthangady, Oct 13, 2019: Karnataka State Health and Family Welfare Department issued a directive to the Social Welfare Department to run the daycare centre for endosulfan victims in Kokkada in Belthangady taluk on October 12, Saturday.
The directions came close on the heels of caretakers and parents of endosulfan victims threatening to stage fast-unto-death agitation if the contract on running the centre to Seon Ashram was not withdrawn at the earliest.
Trouble had erupted when the day-to-day management of daycare centres for endosulfan victims in Kokkada and Koila in Puttur taluk was outsourced to Seon Ashram in April 2019, this year.
The parents and caretakers accusing Seon ashram of ill-treating the inmates had submitted as many as three written complaints to Belthangady Tahasildar, Taluk Health Officer and then Deputy Commissioner Sasikanth Senthil S on cancelling the contract awarded to Seon Ashram.
Following complaints, formr DC Senthil had directed Puttur Assistant Commissioner to submit a report on Kokkada centre.
Puttur Assistant Commissioner H K Krishnamurthy’s report submitted to deputy commissioner in August this year had blamed mismanagement of the daycare centre in Kokkada as the main reason behind the sharp dip in the strength of inmates, from 35 to 12. As the district administration and district health office dilly-dallied on taking action against Seon Ashram, the strength of inmates further dipped from 12 to one.
Kokkada Endosulfan Horata Samithi convenor Sreedhar Gowda K had threatened to go on a fast unto death agitation from October 2 if the daycare centres were not handed over to Social Welfare Department as recommended by DHO in its report submitted to the government in 2015.
Belthangady MLA Harish Poonja had convinced Gowda on withdrawing the agitation.
Based on MLA Poonja’s complaint and the health minister’s recommendation, Health and Family Welfare Department Additional Secretary M Kumaraswamy wrote to additional secretary, Social Welfare Department on running the daycare centre in Kokkada at the earliest.
RTI activist Sanjeeva Kabaka said it was a gross injustice as only Kokkada centre was handed over to the Social Welfare Department. The matters should be reviewed with care and a comprehensive system of operations should be in place for the present and future.