To create gradual public dissent for Endosulfan, the EU has pulled many Indian environmental NGOs (ENGOs) on its side in addition to prominent International ENGOs like PAN, EJF (Environment Justice Foundation) and I-PEN (International POP’s Elimination Network). Information obtained though the RTI Act from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India shows that between 2000 and 2007, CSE received foreign funds to the tune of Rs 53 crore. A majority of this donation came from the EU. The EU ambassador to India confirmed that in the same period, a steady annual contribution was made by the EU to CSE to implement a project on ‘Policy Research and Awareness Creation in the Field of Environmental Health Interface and Development of an Alternative Pollution Monitoring System’ from 2000 to 2006.
The verbatim objective of the CSE program was to ‘sensitise the public to the linkages between environmental degradation and health’; ‘develop policy strategies in the field of environmental health’ and ‘catalyse the formation of pressure groups.’ One can easily estimate the real intent behind these objectives:
- Sensitise the public to the linkages between environmental degradation and health: Disseminate misguided information about Endosulfan and its effects on people and environment, thereby stirring a ‘people-driven’ movement against the pesticide. Government committees that have rubbished Endosulfan links to health problems in Kerala have been severely criticised even without scientific critiques.
- Develop policy strategies in the field of environmental health: Harness the opinion of the masses to bring about a policy change in matters that guide manufacturing and use of the concerned chemical; thus helping EU achieve its goal at ground-zero (India being Endosulfan’s second largest market and largest producer). India is one of the few economies against the ban. If our government gives in, the EU agenda will succeed.
- Catalyse the formation of pressure groups: Use misguided mass opinion to generate pressure such that the government accedes to a ban, despite the absence of any scientific evidence to support the claims. This has already worked in procuring compensation for the alleged ‘victims.’
This case reveals how inconspicuously funded activism prospers in India. Such NGOs care little about the effects of Endosulfan or the people they claim are affected by it. If they were, they would demand studies that explore the reason for their ailments, instead of studies that link Endosulfan to them. How else could one account for their unscientific vendetta against a chemical that has been safely used the world over for more than 55 years? They would rather continue lying to the Indian public than disappoint their European benefactors.