Devendra Fadnavis orders SIT probe into farmer deaths due to pesticides poisoning in Vidarbha; agro firm booked

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe after several cases of farmers' death due to pesticide poisoning were reported from the Vidarbha region.

Between July and October, around 35 farmers died and and around 450 were hospitalised after exposure to toxic fumes while spraying pesticides. The Maharshtra agriculture department had on Monday said that farmers have died because of pesticide poisoning. 

File image of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

File image of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

Fadnavis assured that a case of culpable homicide will be registered against the pesticide manufacturers and dealers for circulating non-certified pesticide in the region, reported Hindustan Times. Gharda Chemicals Ltd has already been booked under the charge.

The state government is in the  process of registering a case against Syngenta — an agro chemical company for selling a pesticide 'Polo' that is not recommended.

"They misguide the farmers and tell them this will be highly effective for their crop and make money out of it. Cases have been registered against companies because they cannot take farmers for a ride," Hindustan Times quoted Bijay Kumar, state agriculture department principal secretary as saying on Tuesday.

Kishore Tiwari, who heads Maharashtra government's task force on farm distress, held faulty policies responsible. Speaking to The Times of India, he said: "The government officials in every department work without understanding the ground reality, and don't even follow court orders."

A total of 19 deaths were reported in Yavatmal alone. Deaths were also registered in Akola, Amravati, Buldana, Nagpur and Bhandara. The government has also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the family of the deceased.

In 2016, Vidarbha reported the highest number of farmer suicides in the state. The pesticide poisoning further aggravates the crisis in the region.

Updated Date: Oct 11, 2017 15:51 PM

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