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40 farmers dead, 2000 hospitalised: Task force chief calls it ‘pesticide genocide’

From The Indian Express: According to Kishor Tiwari, chief of a Maharashtra government task force for the welfare of farmers,  more than 40 farmers had died and at least 2,000 more hospitalised from pesticide inhalation in Vidarbha and Marathwada. He has termed the deaths of farmers from pesticide inhalation as “genocide committed by the state”. 

‘Deaths of farmers from pesticide genocide by state,’ says farmer welfare task force chief; seeks criminal action.

Vivek Deshpande, The Indian Express

Kishor Tiwari, the chief of the Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swawlamban Mission, a state government task force set up for the welfare of farmers, has termed the deaths of farmers from pesticide inhalation in Vidarbha as “genocide committed by the state” and sought criminal action against the manufacturers as well as “corrupt government officials hand in glove with them”.

Addressing a press conference here Monday, Tiwari claimed more than 40 farmers had died and at least 2,000 more hospitalised from pesticide inhalation in Vidarbha and Marathwada.

“This is genocide committed by the state. The pesticide-manufacturing companies and government officials operating in complete violation of the Insecticides Act are responsible for it,” he alleged. He sought “criminal action against them”.

Tiwari alleged the pesticide business in the country was controlled by three multinational companies, their agents in India and government officials. He demanded that chemical farming should be completely stopped and organic farming promoted “in the manner in which it is being done in Sikkim”.

He rubbished claims that factors like extra height gained by the cotton crop, excessive heat and new spray pumps were responsible for the deaths. “It’s wrong government policies and the rot in the system that are responsible for the deaths,” he said.

Tiwari also raised the issue of illegal Roundup Bt cotton allegedly being “stealthily brought in from Gujarat”. “This has come up on 10 lakh hectares and pests affecting it, atmospheric changes, excessive use of atropine to treat the affected persons are some of the contributing factors for the deaths,” he said.

Tiwari has sent a report to the government and made some recommendations. Asked if he would resign as declared earlier in case the state government doesn’t listen to his pleas, Tiwari said, “We have a chief minister from Vidarbha and he is a good CM. He listens to us. What will we do if we have someone from west Maharashtra returning as CM?”

His recommendations:

  • Immediate ban on chemical farming; Rs 25,000 per hectare grant to farmers for five years for natural farming
  •  Government purchase of entire “poison-less” produce
  • Immediate ban on foreign varieties of cotton
  • 100% supply of desi cottonseeds by state agriculture universities, research centres and Mahabeej
  • Herbal and cow urine-based insecticides
  • Marketing system and credit supply for sale of poison-less food at village level
  • A separate police-administration machinery to prevent exploitation of farmers by those selling seeds, chemicals and plant-growth controllers


Farmers die in Yavatmal after spraying insecticide on crops
The Hindu
Nine farmers have died after spraying ‘Profex Super’ insecticide on their Bt cotton plantations in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra. The Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Swavalamban Mission, Maharashtra government’s task force to deal with farm distress, has asked the Central government to intervene in the matter. Kishor Tiwari , VNSSM chief, said, “Nine innocent farmers fell ill and died in hospital after spraying toxic insecticides on their cotton produce to save it from pest attacks. Four other farmers have lost their vision and 70 farmers are undergoing treatment at the government medical college in Yavatmal after spraying the same toxic insecticide.”

The terrible truth behind the wave of farmer suicides in India
Nikita Sattiraju, Your Story
Farmer suicides in India have largely been attributed to debt, drought, crop failure or poor returns. However, farmers have been taking the drastic step regardless of a good rainfall year or bad, a good price year or a disappointing one. Why? Questions arise on the exact nature and reasons behind the deepening problem

How World Bank’s economic chakravyuh is trapping Indian farmers
From GGI News
In 1996, the World Bank directed India to move 400 million people out of agriculture. Former PM Manmohan Singh had repeatedly expressed the need to shift 70% farmers. Only then will cheap labour be available for infrastructure development. The economic design is well laid out. Agriculture is being killed for economic growth.


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