Seven more farmers have died in the past three days owing to improper spraying of ‘Profex Super’ insecticide on cotton plantations in Yavatmal district, taking the toll to 15.Kishor Tiwari, chief of Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Swavalamban Mission, said over 600 cases of insecticide infection have been reported in Yavatmal district. He blamed indiscriminate use of wrong combinations of insecticides, and direct and continuous exposure to toxic substances owing to lack of protective gear for the death of farmers and farm workers over the past one week.The deceased farmers have been identified as Dashrath Chavan of Naygaon village, Devidas Madavi of Kalamb town, Kailash Pendor of Jamni village, Ayub Sheikh of Kalgaon village, Anil Chavan of Kalamb, Ramesh Chirawar of Ghatanji village, Ravi Rathod of Uchegaon village, Vithal Parkewar and Pradip Soyami from Kelapur town, Vasant Sidam of Maregoan village, Maroti Pimpalkar of Kalegoan village, Divakar Ghoshi of Ghoddara village, Shankar Kedam of Talki village, Dipak Madavi of Arni town. and Bandu Sonurle of Manoli village.Mr. Tiwari also blamed genetically modified Bt cotton seeds for the deaths. He said, “Bt cotton seeds are supposed to be resistant to bollworm and other infestations. However, they failed to tackle the pests and this resulted in the use of the toxic and internationally banned Monocrotophos, a highly toxic pesticide, which makes plants look green and healthy but causes the resurgence of pink bollworm. The chances of exposure to toxic chemicals increase as farmers use non-recommended combinations.”Mr. Tiwari said Maharashtra had the largest area under cotton cultivation (over 40 lakh hectares) and tribal farm workers would continue to die if the State did not ban chemical farming in regions seeing a spate of suicides over crop failure.