Achuthanandan writes to all CMs to press for ban

(image) Thiruvananthapuram: Seeking to widen his government`s campaign against Endosulfan, Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan has written to his counterparts in other states requesting them to bring combined pressure on the Centre to impose a nationwide ban on the pesticide.

Ahead of a Kerala `hartal` tomorrow called by ruling CPI(M)-led LDF on the Endosulfan issue, Achuthanandan, in his letter, highlighted the ill-effects due to use of the pesticide over the years in Kerala`s Kasargode district where over 400 people died and hundreds were suffering from serious health problems.

He also attached copies of reports of studies on the death and environmental devastation caused by Endosulfan spraying over the years in a state-run cashew estate in Kasargode.

The 87-year-old CPI-M leader, who recently observed a day-long fast on the issue, wanted his counterparts to prevail upon the Centre to ask for global ban on Endosulfan at the ongoing Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

Realising the grim danger posed by the pesticide to living beings and nature, it had been banned by 80 countries but the UPA Government at the Centre was still reluctant to take action, Achuthanandan said.

He said there was no need for further studies to establish the grievous consequences of Endosulfan as the experience of Kerala had sufficiently brought out that aspect.

An all-party delegation from Kerala had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently to press the demand for ban of Endosulfan.

Bhutan seeks Bollywood help in setting up film studio

New Delhi: Bhutan has sought the help of Indian film industry and the government to set up a film studio in capital Thimphu in a bid to turn its fragile movie- making industry into a viable socio-cultural sector.

To help take forward the project, South Asia Foundation Chairman Rahul Barua is going to Bhutan on May 2 to hold detailed discussions with Bhutanese filmmakers and government officials at the invitation of the government of the Himalayan kingdom.

"I have been invited by the Bhutan government to attend the national film awards function. I will take this opportunity to have detail discussions with the filmmakers and officials of that country regarding the proposal to set up a film studio in Thimphu", Barua told PTI.

He said the Foundation has been asked to prepare a master plan to set up the infrastructure for Bhutan`s film industry and the Bhutan government has already written to Indian government seeking help to set up the studio while the latter has asked South Asia Foundation to start the talks.

According to Barua, the idea of a film studio was first put forward to him by a delegation of Bhutanese filmmakers, including that country`s first woman director Karma Deki, and officials during the South Asian Film Festival in Panaji last November.

Barua said he has already spoken to Indian filmmakers Subhash Ghai, Shyam Benegal, Madhur Bhandarkar, Sharmila Tagore, Sudhir Mishra and Mahesh Bhatt and all of them have agreed to visit Bhutan and help develop its film industry.

Barua has also sought the help of the National School of Design, Channel I of Bangladesh, a leading private film production company, and the Film Studies Department of Deikin University in Melbourne, Australia, which he had visited recently, which have promised to send their personnel to help Bhutan`s film industry.