Daya Bai likely to end hunger strike as ministers promise to meet demands

Dayabai during her hunger strike. Photo: Screengrab/Manorama News

Thiruvananthapuram: Social activist Daya Bai, who has been on a hunger strike here for the past two weeks demanding immediate solutions for the woes of the victims of Endosulfan pesticide in Kasaragod, is likely to call off her protest following a meeting with two state ministers on Sunday.

Health Minister Veena George and Higher Education Minister R Bindu visited Daya Bai, 81, at the hospital where she was recently shifted to, and promised to meet most of the demands she has raised.

The ministers visited the activist after holding talks with the leaders of the agitation committee. "It is possible to meet almost 90 per cent of the demands raised by Daya Bai. We have conveyed this to her. She will end her hunger strike soon," Bindu told reporters after visiting the activist.

Veena George said the government will take all steps to implement more facilities at the Kasaragod Government Medical College Hospital as demanded by the protesters.

"Outpatient services were started in the hospital during this government's term. Posts for two neurologists have already been created. Even before the posts were created, a neurologist from Alappuzha Medical College was deputed there," the health minister said.

Bindu said medical camps to identify more victims of the pesticide spraying would be held within two months. She said a decision on the protesters' demand to set up

daycare facilities in all local self governments in the affected area should be taken up after consulting with the local self government department.

The ministers also said the demand for Buds rehabilitation centres would be examined.

The ministers, however, informed Daya Bai that the demand to start an All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Kasaragod was not practical now. It is learnt that the activist was ready to compromise on that demand.

Daya Bai started the indefinite hunger strike on October 2. She was shifted to a hospital forcibly after her health deteriorated.

Daya Bai alleged that the Kerala Government has abandoned the Endosulfan victims of Kasaragod. She said the strike was initiated to ensure better healthcare facilities in the district. Her demands include special medical camps for Endosulfan victims and the provision of home-based care for bedridden patients.

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