for the past several decades, a killer had been let loose in Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh. Perfidiously, ruthlessly it strangled its victims. None dared to charge him guilty. But now it has been caught red handed. For the first time, a report has nailed down exposure to pesticides as the cause behind farmers dying in the district. A cocktail of pesticides has taken its toll on 500 Warangal farmers between August and December 2001, according to the report The killing fields: farmer deaths due to exposure to pesticides in Warangal district. "For the first time, deaths resulting from exposure to pesticides have been reported in the district. Before this, incidences of health affects were only accounted for,' said P Damodar, head of Warangal-based Sarvodaya Youth Organisation.
The unending saga of Warangal's plight due to pesticides had made headlines in 1998, with innumerable farmers committing suicide in the wake of pesticides failing to protect their standing crops from the menace of pests. Up to their neck in whopping debt, the farmers were left with no choice but to commit suicide by consuming pesticides