A link was established between the unusually high incidence of deformities and diseases in Padre, a village in Kerala's Kasaragod district and endosulfan, an organochlorine pesticide.
The Plantation Corporation of Kerala (PCK) had been spraying endosulfan since the mid-1970s on its cashew plantations. The people of Padre had long been waging a lonely battle against the spraying of the pesticide. Laboratory analysis conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi, revealed that all samples collected from the village contained very high levels of the pesticide that has ironically been either banned or restricted in many countries.
As the news was splashed in the national media, public pressure forced a number of decisions. The National Human Rights Commission asked government agencies, including the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), to act.A study by the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) got underway. The Kerala government too set up a committee headed by eminent engineer A Achyuthan to probe the matter. Both the Union and state governments banned aerial spraying of endosulfan. The crusade seemed headed towards its logical conclusion.