Geeta Bandu Sonule and her daughter are distraught after her husband Bandu Sonule died on September 21. “For how long will the compensation last? Will it bring back the light of our lives? Will lives continue to be lost? Will farmers meet the same end?” she asks.(Sanjib Ganguly/HT)
Geeta Bandu Sonule and her daughter are distraught after her husband Bandu Sonule died on September 21. “For how long will the compensation last? Will it bring back the light of our lives? Will lives continue to be lost? Will farmers meet the same end?” she asks.(Sanjib Ganguly/HT)

Yavatmal pesticide poisoning: Farmers’ families battle death and despair

Around 50 farmers or farm labourers have died and nearly 800 have been hospitalised due to pesticide poisoning in Vidarbha region, known for farmer suicides.
By Pradip Kumar Maitra | Hindustan Times, Yavatmal, Yavatmal
UPDATED ON OCT 13, 2017 10:55 PM IST

Life has come to a stop for Ranjana Kamble (24), a resident of Andhbori village in Yavatmal district. The eight-month pregnant first-time would-be mother has been waiting for her husband Vinod to respond to treatment for the last one month.

Vinod, a farm labourer, developed respiratory problems on September 17 after he returned from the farm of district BJP leader Raju Dange where he had sprayed pesticide. Admitted to hospital, he has been on life support since.

Bandu Sonule (48) of Monali village was not as lucky. He died two days after being admitted on September 19, leaving his wife Geeta, two children and mother distraught. He too had sprayed pesticide at the farm of Shankarrao Chowdhury.

Around 50 farmers or farm labourers — 22 in Yavatmal — have died and nearly 800 have been hospitalised due to an infection, caused by spraying of a pesticide on cotton crops in Vidarbha region, known for farmer suicides. At least 20 have lost vision too.

While chief minister Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government has ordered probe by special investigation team and announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the kin of the dead, district collector Rajesh Deshmukh directed free treatment to the affected.

The District Agriculture Development Officer (DOA) Dattatreya Kalsai was suspended on Wednesday for alleged negligence.

The district authorities booked the local agro-input centre, Jalaram Krushi Kendra, for violation of the Insecticides Act 1969.

However, the owner of the agro-input centre, Shantilal Raja claims he is clueless about the cause of the deaths as he has been “selling pesticides to all farmers in the area, and no one was affected”.

Farmers in Yavatmal, who mainly grow cotton, soybean and lentils, say they use a highly potent mix of pesticides, both in powder and liquid form.

They also cultivate a genetically modified variety of cotton, which is supposed to be resistant to bollworms, a pest that attacks cotton crops. But that has not happened this year, farmers say, which led them to increase their use of pesticides.

Chairman of the state-run agriculture mission, Kishore Tiwari highlighted the unregulated sale and use of pesticides/insecticides, failure of Bt cotton in reducing dependence on chemicals, collapse of public health department, lack of alertness on part of agriculture department and wrong agriculture policies implemented in the country in the last 30 years as causes of poisoning.

Vinod Kamble, a landless farm labourer, has been on life support since September 21 at Yavatmal medical college and hospital. (Sanjib Ganguly/HT)
Vinod Kamble, a landless farm labourer, has been on life support since September 21 at Yavatmal medical college and hospital. (Sanjib Ganguly/HT)

Dr Vilas Bhale, vice chancellor of Panjabrao Agriculture University, noted that farmers were not following precautions while spraying pesticides like wearing gloves, goggles and special clothes.

He said his university has engaged its teachers and post-graduate students for a public awareness campaign in the region in this regard.

For doctors in the area, the task is an everyday battle as they can’t wash the stomach to remove traces of ingested poison. Inhaling pesticides also affects the respiratory system.

For Geeta, the issue raises several questions. “For how long will the compensation last? Will it bring back the light of our lives? Will lives continue to be lost? Will farmers meet the same end?” she asks.

Sangeeta Fulmali (45), who lost her husband Gajanan (52), to pesticide poisoning on October 1, life has to move on. “Yes. I am afraid of working on the farm. There are risks, but what else can I do to feed my children?”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Immigrants walk across the Gateway International Bridge into Mexico after being sent out of Texas by US. (AFP)
Immigrants walk across the Gateway International Bridge into Mexico after being sent out of Texas by US. (AFP)

Undocumented Indian immigrants hold USD15.5 billion in spending power

PTI, Washington
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 05:48 AM IST
There are 4.2 million immigrants from Mexico who lack documentation. Together, they make up more than 40.8 percent of the 10.3 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Close
Chief principal secretary to the CM, K Kailashnathan, respectively, to oversee the re-development of the iconic Sabarmati Ashram and its precincts.(AP/Ajit Solanki)
Chief principal secretary to the CM, K Kailashnathan, respectively, to oversee the re-development of the iconic Sabarmati Ashram and its precincts.(AP/Ajit Solanki)

Guj cm, his aide in charge of Gandhi ashram revamp panel

By Darshan Desai, Ahmedabad
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 05:46 AM IST
  • The order also said that Kailashnathan will head an executive council set up for the purpose,
Close
Addressing all the national officials of the Youth Congress, Rahul Gandhi hailed the workers as the “real power” of the party(ANI Photo)
Addressing all the national officials of the Youth Congress, Rahul Gandhi hailed the workers as the “real power” of the party(ANI Photo)

Help raise voice of the weak: Rahul to cadres

By Saubhadra Chatterji, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 04:57 AM IST
  • Congress is like an ocean, Gandhi said in the national executive meeting of the IYC, and if anyone wants to return can be allowed to do so.
Close
Narendra Modi.(PTI)
Narendra Modi.(PTI)

PM to visit B’desh on March 26

By Shishir Gupta, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 04:34 AM IST
  • The two-day trip to Dhaka will be Modi’s first foreign visit in 15 months
Close
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla conducts proceedings during the second part of the Budget session on Monday. PTI
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla conducts proceedings during the second part of the Budget session on Monday. PTI

Rising fuel prices rock Parliament

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 04:29 AM IST
  • Parties urge Speaker, Chairman to reduce sessions amid polls; both Houses to begin at 11 am from Tuesday
Close
Policemen outside the house in Batla House where inspector Mohan Chand Shama was killed during a shootout. HT Archive
Policemen outside the house in Batla House where inspector Mohan Chand Shama was killed during a shootout. HT Archive

Batla House: Ariz Khan held guilty of killing inspector

By Richa Banka, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 03:26 AM IST
  • Additional sessions judge Sandeep Yadav convicted 35-year-old Khan, also known as Junaid, Salim and Anna
Close
Farm subsidies worth thousands of crores — including cheap insurance, fertilisers, credit and income transfers — still suffer from leakages because very little information about individual farmers is centrally available.(Bloomberg file photo)
Farm subsidies worth thousands of crores — including cheap insurance, fertilisers, credit and income transfers — still suffer from leakages because very little information about individual farmers is centrally available.(Bloomberg file photo)

Govt building ‘agri stack’ to give unique ID to every Indian farmer

By Zia Haq, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 05:43 AM IST
  • The database uses Aadhaar-based data generated from key farm sector programmes such as PM-KISAN.
Close
Passengers queue to get their documents verified before entering the IGI Airport amid the lockdown in New Delhi on May 30, 2020.(Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)
Passengers queue to get their documents verified before entering the IGI Airport amid the lockdown in New Delhi on May 30, 2020.(Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

Prominent warnings at IGI against carrying bullets soon

By Anvit Srivastava, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 02:33 AM IST
  • Police data shows that some of the 522 passengers nabbed in last 5 years while carrying live bullets in their bags claimed they had done so unknowingly
Close
The Act mandates all private establishments in Haryana to provide 75% of new jobs to local candidates.(Representational photo)
The Act mandates all private establishments in Haryana to provide 75% of new jobs to local candidates.(Representational photo)

Is the Haryana Act legal?

By Utkarsh Anand, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 02:23 AM IST
  • Private firms will likely claim that the law interferes with their constitutional rights to carry on trade freely
Close
The apex court has agreed to re-examine the 50% ceiling on reservations in India while hearing a case on the validity of 10% separate reservations for Marathas(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
The apex court has agreed to re-examine the 50% ceiling on reservations in India while hearing a case on the validity of 10% separate reservations for Marathas(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)

Why reservation may fail in levelling the field

By Roshan Kishore, Abhishek Jha
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 01:58 AM IST
  • From SC-ST social groups, reservations have expanded to OBCs, economically weaker sections
Close
Rohingyas at Kiryani Talab in Jammu on Monday (HT Photo)
Rohingyas at Kiryani Talab in Jammu on Monday (HT Photo)

Fearing expulsion, Rohingyas in Jammu plead for protection

UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 05:04 AM IST
Over the weekend, police rounded up the 169 people from the city and took them to the Hiranagar jail detention centre
Close
The recovery in GST collections reflects the larger revival in the economy.(PTI)
The recovery in GST collections reflects the larger revival in the economy.(PTI)

Record GST collections expected in March, set to hit 1.30 lakh crore

By Rajeev Jayaswal, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2021 05:37 AM IST
  • The revenue in March may cross the record Rs.1,19,875 crore collected in January by at least Rs.10,000 crore.
Close
DU officials said that Tyagi was the first V-C in the university’s 100-year history to be suspended.(HT file)
DU officials said that Tyagi was the first V-C in the university’s 100-year history to be suspended.(HT file)

Report on probe against DU V-C Tyagi likely today

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 01:18 AM IST
  • Officials said that an inquiry committee, constituted by the Visitor of Delhi University (DU), the President of India, held its final meeting.
Close
Home minister Narottam Mishra tabled the bill in the legislative assembly.(PTI)
Home minister Narottam Mishra tabled the bill in the legislative assembly.(PTI)

MP assembly nod to anti-conversion bill

By Shruti Tomar, Bhopal
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 01:13 AM IST
  • BJP MLAs supported the bill and called it a gift for women on the occasion of Women’s Day
Close
According to BloombergQuint, in the case of one prominent private bank, only 25-30% of the OTPs were being delivered.
According to BloombergQuint, in the case of one prominent private bank, only 25-30% of the OTPs were being delivered.

Anti-spam tech halts OTP texts for some

PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 12:46 AM IST
  • The technology requires telecoms companies to scrub messages to verify if the text being sent has been approved and it is only being sent to someone who has consented to receive such a message.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP