Bobigny (France): A Paris court on Tuesday began hearing a case brought by a mother and daughter who, in a legal first in France, are suing the state for damages over ill health caused by air pollution. The mother and the daughter are asking for 160,000 euros (USD 179,000) in damages from the state at the administrative court of Montreuil in the east of Paris. They argue the authorities did not take effective measures against atmospheric pollution, in particular during the very high pollution that Paris endured in December 2016. Also Read – ‘Hong Kong won’t rule out Chinese help over protests’The pair say this had an effect on their health, especially as they were living at the time in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Ouen, just outside the clogged peripherique ring road. The peripherique — opened in 1973 — takes 1.1 million drivers a day but is also a nightmare for the 100,000 people living around it. Both say they developed respiratory problems that were accentuated during pollution peaks. The mother, 52, has had to take time off work and the daughter, 16, suffered asthma crises. Also Read – Pak Army chief accompanies Imran at key meetings in ChinaThey have since moved to the city of Orleans on doctors’ advice and their health has improved considerably, says lawyer Francois Lafforgue. Their legal team argues that French authorities failed to implement rules to better protect the population, did not use all the measures at their disposal and did not properly enforce measures when agreed. In total, around 50 people across France are taking similar actions against the French state, said Sebastien Vray, the founder of the NGO Respire, which assists the cases of the plaintiffs. He said the fact the case has come to court is already a victory. “When I founded Respire eight years ago I had the aim that one day there would be a legal link between pollution heights and an individual’s illness.” Both Vray and Lafforgue said this is the first time such a case has reached a court in France. In France, air pollution is responsible for 48,000 premature deaths every year, according to the Public Health France agency.
“Whether he is going to side with Sri Lankan government, which they consider as their enemy country,” he asked. Maitreyan said the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has in the letters “conveyed outrage” over the “continuing human rights violation” of Tamilians in Sri Lanka.Quoting from the letter, Maitreyan said holding an important summit like CHOGM is equal to endorsing human rights violation by Sri Lanka against the Tamilians, he said, “any high-level participation from Indian side will not only embolden Sri Lanka but also incense public sentiments in Tamil Nadu. The two main political parties in Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK and the DMK today joined hands in the Rajya Sabha to demand that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not attend the Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka in November, the Press Trust of India reported.Raising the issue during Zero Hour, V Maitreyan (AIADMK) said his party chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha also wrote two letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard but no reply was given by the PMO. “I urge the Prime Minister not to attend at very least. India should stay away from CHOGM.”Associating with the issue, Kanimozhi (DMK) said her party has time and again insisted that the Prime Minister should not attend the meeting in Sri Lanka.She said DMK chief Karunanidhi has also asked leaders from other countries not to attend the summit or least change the venue of the CHOGM meet. Maintaining that any high level delegation from India attending the summit in Sri Lanka “which the AIADMK considers an enemy country”, will be “endorsing” the acts of human rights violation by that country, Maitreyan said people of Tamil Nadu are waiting with eagerness to see how the Prime Minister is going to respond. “At least India should not attend the meeting,” she said. Kanimozhi also raised the issue of Tamilian fishermen and human rights violation.