Published On : Mon, Oct 9th, 2017

Farmer deaths due to pesticide inhalation is ‘genocide committed by state’, claims activist Kishor Tiwari

Nagpur: Demanding strict criminal actions against the manufacturers of pesticides, inhalation of which have led to death of farmers in Yavatmal, Activist Kishor Tiwari has claimed it to be a “genocide committed by the state”. He is the chief of Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swawlamban Mission. He has also demanded actions against corrupt government officials working hand-in-glove with them”. The above allegations were made by him in a Press Conference held in Nagpur on Monday.

Tiwari informed that over 40 farmers have died while over 2,000 were hospitalised due to passive inhalation of pesticides in Vidarbha and Marathwada. “This is genocide being committed by state and pesticide manufacturing companies. Government officials operating in complete violation of the Insecticides Act are alone responsible for it,” he said, calling for “strict criminal action against them.” Tiwari also went on to term these officials as “haramkhor“, who he said, “should be beaten up with shoes.”

Tiwari alleged that the pesticide business is controlled by three multinational companies, their agents in India and the officials who help them. He demanded that chemical farming should be completely stopped and organic farming should be promoted “in the manner in which it is being done in Sikkim.”

He asked, “Why are the officials taking hafta (bribe) from the pesticide companies not being sent home?” He also said, “Health and agriculture universities and research centres, as well as agriculture officials in charge of implementing farm policies are directly or indirectly responsible for this hatyakaand (genocide).”

He rubbished the claim that factors like extra height gained by the cotton crop, excessive heat and new spray pumps are responsible for the deaths. “Wrong government policies and rotten government systems are responsible for the tragedy,” he added.

Tiwari also raised the issue of illegal roundup BT cotton stealthily brought in from Gujarat. “This has been grown on ten lakh hectares. The pests affecting it, atmospheric changes, excessive use of atropine to treat the affected people, leading to brain, kidney and eyesight damage are some of the contributing factors for the tragedy,” he said. Tiwari has also sent a report to the government and has made some recommendations.

Asked as to when would he resign in case the state government doesn’t listen to his pleas (as had been declared by him), Tiwari said, “We have a Chief Minister from Vidarbha and he is a good CM. He listens to us. What will we do if we have someone from west Maharashtra returning as CM again?” He added, “I am not a part of the government. I am here to pinch the government whenever required and am a phukat (free) employee of the government. My directives are being ignored by some officials. But I am not wearing bangles.”

Tiwari’s recommendations:
· Immediate ban on chemical farming and Rs 25,000 per hectare grant to farmers for five years for natural farming
· Government purchase of entire poison-less (vishmukt) produce
· Immediate ban on foreign varieties of cotton
· 100 pc supply of Desi cottonseeds by state agriculture universities, research centres and Mahabeej
· Compulsion of herbal and cow urine-based insecticides
· Marketing system and credit supply for sale of poison-less food at village level
· A separate police-administration machinery to prevent exploitation of farmers by those selling seeds, chemicals and plant-growth controllers.