Punjab bans pesticide causing cancer

Following directions of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Punjab Government has banned the manufacture, import and use of carcinogenic pesticides, which according to reports, caused cancer among the small farmers in the Malwa region that consists of Southern districts — Bathinda, Faridkot, Moga, Muktsar, Ferozepur, Sangrur and Mansa.

The government has also withdrawn registration of such pesticides in addition to restricting use of some other dangerous pesticides. It has made arrangements for educating the farmers on their healthcare and the judicious use of pesticides.

According to the media reports, published during August 2011, cancer among farmers was caused by excessive use of pesticides and that due to the non-availability of cheap treatment of cancer in the region. About 70-100 cancer patients travelled daily by train to Bikaner from Bathinda to avail of free treatment and cheap medicines at the Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Trust.

On the directions of NHRC, the State government called for two reports to confirm the incidents. Besides banning the chemicals, the government has also decided to provide medical care, financial assistance, setting up of super-speciality hospitals for treatment and prevention of the deadly disease in the affected districts.

Expressing its satisfaction on the steps taken by the Punjab Government to prevent the spread of the disease and its treatment, the NHRC observed that it gave some ray of hope to the victims. If these steps were taken in earnest, they were likely to bear fruits in the future, the NHRC said.

Restricts use of some other pesticides

Media report drew attention to cancer among farmers

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