Speaking in the Lok Sabha on Monday, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, member of Parliament from Bathinda, raised the issue of indiscriminate pesticide use and its fatal affects on thousands of lives in the Malwa region.
She demanded strict implementation of guidelines of the union ministry of chemicals and fertilisers at the ground level to save lives as well as agri-lands from pesticide pollution.
During zero hour, Harsimrat said pesticides were being used by farmers to garner high yield of crops. She said this pollution was not only harmful to human beings but also to the ecosystem.
Blaming "ill-managed" agri-related policies of union ministries, Harsimrat said due to the meagre increase in minimum support price every season, farmers of the country were forced to use pesticides to the maximum for high yield; as a result, 90% of pesticides got mixed in the soil and water.
She said lack of control over indiscriminate use of pesticides was leading to hazardous problems in our health system. Harsimrat said studies conducted by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and other organisations in the Malwa region had proved that injudicious use of pesticides was one of the reasons behind increasing incidence of cancer in this belt.
She asked the union government whether it planned to have a dedicated body to look into strict implementation of laws and create awareness at the ground level to educate farmers about side effects of indiscriminate use of pesticides.
She said pesticide content had been found in blood samples of Malwa farmers, besides uranium content in hair of children.
She said the matter concerned the ministries of environment, chemicals and fertilizers, and health and family welfare. She said the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers should strictly monitor the pesticides which were allowed to be registered and used in the country.
Harsimrat slammed union minister Jayanti Natarajan for her comments that the situation was not as alarming as sounded by the Bathinda MP and said the limitless use of pesticides produced cancer in the state. She said it was a known fact that the national average of cancer was 100 cases per lakh population, while in the Bathinda constituency, the figure was 134.