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Pesticides kill farmers: NHRC notice to Centre, Maharashtra

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 Rohit Shishodia
The farmers are not aware of the correct technique of spraying pesticides on crops.

Lack of awareness among farmers in Maharashtra about how to apply pesticides to crops is proving fatal. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the chief secretary, Maharashtra, and the Indian agriculture secretary, over the deaths of farmers and farm labourers in Yavatmal district due to health complications caused by spraying of pesticide on cotton crop.

The NHRC has said that around 18 farmers have died in Yavatmal while several are seriously unwell. The commission has pointed out that farmers’ right to life and livelihood have been grossly violated. “It seems that lack of proper awareness about such a complicated technology for spraying pesticides on cotton crops took their lives,” observed NHRC.

The commission has sought free and best treatment for the farmers who are admitted in the hospitals or are taking treatment as out-patients. It has also asked the government about steps taken to ensure that there is no recurrence of such incidents and about the action taken against guilty officers.

The commission has observed that most farmers in India are not literate and are relying on the government agencies for the safe use of pesticides. The victim farmers have fallen prey to the callous and negligent attitude of the government authorities, the commission has said.

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