An independent fact-finding team, which probed the recent pesticide poisoning in Tamil Nadu's Perambalur and Ariyalur districts, today accused the state government of inaction in preventing deaths and sufferings of farmers and farm workers. Around 200 people have been, reportedly, hospitalised in the past two months and at least four persons died in three districts of Tamil Nadu, including Perambalur and Ariyalur, after exposure to pesticides. "Neither relief, nor concrete preventive measures have been taken by the government. This situation was highly preventable, had the government banned such pesticides and if ecological alternatives were taught to farmers for crop protection," the team said in a release. The team comprising members from Swaraj Abhiyan, non- profit Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), Safe Food Alliance and People's Union for Civil Liberties and others met the affected families and the government officials concerned during a visit to the districts between November 4 and 6, said Kavitha Kuruganti of ASHA. "Many families have incurred unaffordable expenses on medical care.
We demand the state government pay an ex-gratia amount of at least Rs 10 lakh for families of the dead, and Rs two lakh for the hospitalised. The government should also recover these amounts from the pesticides industry," the team suggested. The team also suggested the government to take up awareness campaigns on the ill-effects of pesticides, symptoms of pesticide poisonings and alternatives to be adopted by farmers.
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