VNSSM demands urgent intervention in Pesticide Management Bill(PMB) 2017
In a official requisition to NITI Aayog ,India's official policy making body Kishor Tiwari veteran farm activist and chairman of Special Task Force to tackle agrarian crisis in Maharashtra late Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavlamban Mission (VNSSM) to urged for it's intervention of stakeholders consultation between the officials of the ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare and chairpersons of various state Farmer Commissions to discuss the changes sought in the ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare's draft note for withdrawal of the Pesticide Management Bill 2008 and introduction of PMB-2017 as this is of paramount importance to address crisis of pesticide poisoning as over 45 farmers have reportedly died and hundreds have become ill due to pesticide poisoning in several districts of Vidharba region in Maharashtra, since July this year. These incidents have been reported from four districts where farm workers died due to inhalation of toxic pesticides while spraying it on the fields.
“The death of farmers in Maharashtra due to pesticide poisoning is because of the gross negligence in pesticide management in the country. This negligence has led to pesticide poisoning becoming a chronic problem in the country. Every year, there are about 10,000 reported cases of pesticide poisoning in India. In 2015, about 7,000 people died because of accidental intake of insecticides/pesticides. The Ministry of Agriculture at the Centre and agricultural departments of the states are solely responsible for the unsafe use of pesticides in the country. Deaths and illnesses due to pesticides can be avoided if we can urgently fix some of the crucial gaps in our regulations and improve its enforcement,” said Kishor Tiwari in it's requisition to NITI Aayog."this was discussed with maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavisin detail who has promised me take up this matter with central Govt. to address the issues India’s abysmal management of pesticides has started taking a deadly toll in maharashtra' Tiwari informed.
VNSSM requisition has taken serious note of media reports that in Maharashtra that pesticides such as Monocrotophos, Oxydemeton-methyl, Acephate and Profenofos are believed to be responsible for the deaths and illness. Pesticides like Monocrotophos and Oxydemeton-methyl are considered class I pesticides by the World Health Organization (WHO), which are further categorised into extremely hazardous (class Ia) and highly hazardous (class Ib). The classification is based on acute toxicity of pesticide active ingredient and since class I pesticides can be fatal at a very low dose, many of these are banned in several countries. Monocrotophos is banned in 60 countries, Phorate in 37, Triazophos in 40 and Phosphamidon is banned in 49 countries. But India still allows the use of these pesticides.
In fact, there are 18 class I pesticides allowed to be used in the country. In 2015-16, of the 7,717 tonnes of pesticides (technical grade) used in the country, 2,254 tonnes were class I pesticides (about 30 per cent of total pesticides). As per the International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management, jointly released by FAO and WHO, “pesticides whose handling and application require the use of personal protective equipment that is uncomfortable, expensive or not readily available should be avoided, especially in the case of small-scale users and farm workers in hot climates”. All class I pesticides require the use of personal protective equipment that is impossible to use by small-scale farmers and farm workers in India. On this basis itself, class I pesticides should have been banned in India long ago,Tiwari added.