Yavatmal, October 4: Ill-fated Vidarbha farmers have been recurrently facing severe hardships, be it the income of farmers or cash crop cultivation; never have they got their part satisfactorily. Another black day was on Tuesday when 18 farmers died due to pesticide poisoning in the cotton fields of Yavatmal district, Vidarbha region while more than 400 are affected.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered an inquiry and also announced the ex-gratia amount of Rs.2 Lac for the kin of the deceased. He said that the inquiry will be conducted by Additional Chief Secretary, Home, and also announced Rs200,000 (Dh11,212) for the next of kin of the deceased. “The farmers who are not covered under the insurance scheme, will be given the same amount from the Chief Minister’s relief fund,” said the official. He assured that free masks will be distributed to farm labourers and an awareness campaign will be initiated.
“It will be mandatory for distributors of pesticides to provide security kits from the corporate social responsibility (CSR) fund. The district civil surgeon has been informed to submit the report of post-mortem and blood samples as early as possible to the district collector,” said the official.
“Indiscriminate and faulty use with wrong combinations of pesticides, and direct and extended exposure to insecticides without any protective gear for days together are some of the apparent reasons for the death of farmers and farm workers in Yavatmal district,” said Chief of Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Swavalamban Mission.
The state government has appointed a committee, headed by the additional chief secretary (ACS) Home, Sudhirkumar Srivastawa, to probe the death of farmers who died due to inhalation of pesticides. These deaths occurred from July to October 1, in Yeotmal district in Vidarbha.