New Delhi: Around eighteen farmers lost their lives and over eight hundred were hospitalized, with symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, and stomachache, due to infection caused by spraying pesticides in their farms in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra.
Devidas Madavi, 57, who took up the job of spraying pesticides died on August 19, days after used a can to spray pesticides in the cotton fields of employer Amar Gurnule.
Apart from that 17 deaths were reported due to similar pesticide inhalation in the district since July 19.
Paying heed to the reports almost two and a half months after first death, the state government has ordered a probe and announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the family of deceased farmers.
Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court has issued notice on a PIL seeking criminal action against the officials concerned and pesticide firms over the issue.
Labourers blamed the increased height of the cotton crop this year for the pesticide infection and also added that no officer has ever advised them on precautions to take. The only information they receive is through privately owned Krushi Seva Kendras, through which pesticides are sold.
“We also keep tabs on spurious or banned products.”, Kolapkar added. As per the Insecticides Act, 1968, officials are supposed to provide training to the farmers for correct use of pesticides.
While no action has been taken against anyone so far, Minister of State for Agriculture Sadabhau Khot said, “Officials responsible will be made answerable.”