Maharashtra government announces inquiry into deaths of 18 Yavatmal farmers
They died after using new insecticide-spraying equipment for crops; 400 hospitalised in three monthsmumbai Updated: Oct 04, 2017 14:14 IST
The Maharashtra government has set up a committee, which includes the additional chief secretary of the state home department, to look into the deaths of 18 farmers and farm labourers in Yavatmal district owing to the spraying of insecticides on cotton crop.
In the past three months, at least 400 labourers have also been taken ill and admitted to various hospitals in the district.
Admitting that the deaths have occurred largely because of the negligence of various departments, including agriculture, public health and police, the government announced that it would take action against the officials involved.
“The cotton crops have grown to more than six feet and the new spraying equipment, which is made in China, sprays the pesticides in an umbrella-like manner. This is dangerous for the labourers spraying the pesticides,” said state agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar. “Agriculture officers have been visiting villages to create awareness among farmers about the precautions they should take while spraying.” However, according to the minister, “farmers have not been following directions such as wearing gloves and protective clothing. We have now decided to distribute masks free of charge.”
The government has also announced a compensation of Rs 12 lakh to the deceased victims’ families.