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.
The last rites of veteran Congress leader Narayan Dutt Tiwari will be held at the Chitrashila Ghat, Rani Bagh, Nainital district, on Sunday. All arrangements for the former Chief Minister’s funeral have been made, Nainital District Magistrate Vinod Kumar Suman said on Saturday, adding that the last rites would be conducted with full State honours in the afternoon. His body has been kept at Kathgodam Guest House here for the people to pay their last respects, he said. Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, a former ministerial colleague of Tiwari, and a host of prominent politicians will attend the rites, he said. The body of Tiwari, who passed away at a private hospital in Delhi on his 93rd birthday on October 18, after a prolonged illness was brought to Pantnagar in Uttarakhand in an air ambulance from Lucknow on Saturday. Last respects Earlier, leaders across the political divide paid their last respects to the Congress veteran in Lucknow. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his ministerial colleagues received the mortal remains at the Lucknow airport. The body was taken to U.P. Vidhan Bhawan, where leaders from different political parties had gathered to pay their tributes to Tiwari. U.P. Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma in a tweet said, “Shri Tiwari had significantly worked for the development and prosperity of U.P. He was soft-spoken, able administrator and also had knowledge of parliamentary traditions.”