CHIEF Minister Devendra Fadnavis Sunday visited Yavatmal to take stock of the situation arising out of deaths of farmers and farm hands due to passive inhalation of pesticides and directed the officials to take strict action against sellers as well as manufacturing companies found guilty in the matter.Fadnavis also visited the Government Medical College and interacted with patients under treatment for pesticide poisoning. Addressing a meeting of top officials from district administration, zila parishad and Health Department, the CM directed the officials to deal strictly with those selling unauthorised pesticides as well as unauthorisedly selling pesticides, including manufacturers. “The government will teach appropriate lesson to anyone taking farmers’ lives for the sole motive of earning profit,” the CM said.
In Vidarbha, about 40 persons have so far died due to pesticide poisoning caused while spraying their cotton crop over the last four months. 20 of them in Yavatmal district alone. More than 1000 farmers had to be hospitalised. The government has ordered inquiry by Additional Chief Secretary and special investigating team.
The CM also said that responsibility will be fixed in the matter of smuggling of illicit Bt cotton seeds into the state. This was in reference of reports of illegal Roundup Ready Flex (weedecide resistant) Bt seeds smuggled in from Gujrat and being cultivated by many farmers.
The CM called for creating a standard operating procedure for krishi kendras (farm input vendors) by inviting them for discussions. He also directed the officials to conduct workshops for farmers and farm labourers on appropriate methods of spraying.
The CM further said that the state would carry out amendments in the Central Insecticides Act in order to address and prevent the problems arising out of insecticide poisoning. The CM was particularly concerned about lack of antidotes for treating patients suffering due to insecticide poisoning and said sufficient quantities of antidotes would be made available immediately and the government would ensure that such incidents will never recur in future. Fadnavis directed the Health officials to undertake a bond from doctors at the time of their appointment at government hospitals that they would not quit the job before designated period.
The CM also took review of cotton and soyabean purchase by the state. “All purchase centres in the district must be started within two days and the District Collector should give a report to the State government about the same. Strict action would be taken against private traders who would buy the farmers’ produce at low rates,” he said.
The CM reiterated that the loan waiver would accrue only to those who are eligible for it due to the online system being employed to carry out the procedure. He also stressed that without Aadhaar Card, the loan waiver benefit would not be given to anyone. Yavatmal Collector Rajendra Deshmukh, Civil Surgeon T G Dhote, District Superintending Officer Navnath Kolatkar, Superintendent of Police M Rajkumar, Wasantrao Naik Sheti Swawalamban Mission Chief Kishor Tiwari and District Guardian Minister Madan Yerawar were present on the occasion.
CM admits Congress armed with good social media network
Later, interacting with mediapersons at ‘Diwali Milan’ at his official residence at Nagpur, the CM admitted that Rahul Gandhi has come up with a good social media network to carry out campaign against the BJP. “It is true that Rahul Gandhi’s team has built a good social media network over the past few months, creating campaign material and spreading it across all media platforms effectively. But we too are now geared up to counter it,” he said, adding, “Rahul’s social media messaging campaign is being operated from places like Russia.”