Death toll from farm pesticide poisoning rises to 18

TNN | Oct 2, 2017, 04.45 PM IST

Nagpur: The impact of the use of pesticide sprays in Yavatmal district appears to be much bigger and wider than first thought. 
The death toll of farmers and farm workers due to inhalation of pesticide sprays and direct exposure to skin in Yavatmal 
district rose to 18 by late Sunday evening.
One of these who died on Sunday morning was Gajanan Namdeo Fulmali 50, a villager from Sawargaon taluka in Kalamb. This took the total number of deaths in GMC Yavatmal to nine.
Though all these deaths could not be confirmed independently by TOI, Kishor Tiwari, chairman of the task force on farm distress, claimed the nine deaths happened in rural hospitals, private hospitals, and even in other cities. However, when exactly these nine deaths occurred remains to be ascertained.
District health officer PS Chauhan, and district civil surgeon Dr T G Dhote told TOI that there have been no deaths due to contact poisoning in primary health centres (PHCs), rural hospitals, and sub district hospitals (SDH). They said all patients brought to these places were referred to GMC Yavatmal. However, Tiwari claims that two deaths occurred at Maregaon rural hospital, two in private hospitals in Yavatmal, while two died without getting any treatment and their bodies were sent to Maregaon rural hospital. One person also died in a hospital in Wani and another in Nagpur GMC, Tiwari said.
Tiwari claims that this is a failure of government machinery, state agriculture department, and health machinery. He said officials from these departments should be held responsible for the deaths of so many farm hands. He told TOI that farmers have been using cocktail mixtures of non-recommended and recommended pesticides on the advice of dealers.
"There is no mechanism to regulate the use of pesticides over all these years. The agriculture department has also failed to issue proper advisories. In fact, farmers should have been told that the Bt technology has failed to curb the attack of pink boll worm, and farmers should not be using dangerous organo-phosphates any more to control them," Tiwari told TOI.
The task force chairman claimed he would try to get compensation of at least Rs3 lakh to the next of the kin of dead farmers or farmworkers. He said that he had spoken to state agriculture minister Bhausaheb Phundkar, who has promised to visit Yavatmal next week.
"I have visited families of some of the dead patients in last 2-3 days. I found most workers were spraying for hours together in various farms every day to earn as much as possible. But dealers are selling the lowest grade pesticides at cheaper rates, and farmers are mixing them in unknown combinations. First their eyes were affected, but they went to hospitals only when they started vomiting, had loose motions, and breathing problems," said Tiwari.
Admitted patients at Yavatmal GMC | 46
Admitted on Sept 27 | 11
28/9/17 -eight
29/9/17- eight
30//9/17- ten
01/10/17- two
On ventilator-five
1. Vitthal Parkewar, village Pahapal, Taluka Pandharkawda
2. Pradip Soyam, Tembhi, Pandharkawda
3. Vasant Keshav Sidam, 45, taluka Maregaon,
4. Maroti Ramchandra Pimpalkar, 40, Ghodadara, Tal Maregaon
5. Diwakar Tulshiram Ghagi, 40, village Ghodadara, taluka Maregaon
6. Shankar Viththal Gedam, 40, Takli-Kumbha, Tal. Maregaon
7. Dipak Shaymraoji Madavi, 33, village Shendursani, taluka Arni
8. Shankar Aglave, 50, village Chichgaon, Tal Maregaon
9. Dattatreya Gajanan Tekam, 35, Amlon, Tal. Wani
10. Gajanan Namdeo Fulmali, 50, village Sawargaon taluka Kalamb'