Thiruvananthapuram: Keralites, who are treated often to hartals — shutting down of shops and services in protest — for political reasons, Friday had an experience of the state being virtually shut down for a day, to demand a ban on the deadly pesticide endosulfan.
The dawn-to-dusk hartal was called by the ruling Communist Party of India Marxist-led Left Democratic Front.
However, none of the other political parties expressed disagreement with the move to oppose the continued permission given by the federal government to use the lethal pesticide.
Cashew plantations sprayed
In northern Kerala, particularly in Kasaragode district, hundreds of people are considered to have been affected by the aerial spraying of endsoulfan in cashew plantations.
The state wants the federal government to immediately ban the pesticide, considering its ill effects on the health of the people.
It also wants the Congress-led government in Delhi to take up the matter in the ongoing Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants being held in Geneva.
Except for essential services like milk and newspaper distribution, public and private transport in the state came to a standstill from 6am, which put many passengers coming from outside the state to Kerala in a fix, particularly those who came in by airlines and railways.
No major incidents were reported, but attendance in most government offices was thin, and most of the shops and establishments did not function.