5,600 farm mishaps in a year in Punjab; 22 per cent fatal
Chandigarh, July 7 (UNI) The use of farm machinery, digging of wells, snake bites and other such factors lead to nearly 5,600 accidents in a year in the agricultural fields of Punjab, with 22 per cent mishaps being fatal and 21 per cent leading to amputation.
The major accidents take place while operating machines like chaff cutters, sprayers, tractor and trailers, electric motors and threshers.
The farmer community suffers major loss annually due to these accidents in terms of 22 per cent deaths, 23 per cent poisoning, 21 per cent amputations, 11 per cent fractures, six per cent electric shocks, four per cent multiple injuries and 10 per cent minor injuries, as per a survey report of the 'Progressive Farming, a journal of the Punjab Agriculture Univeristy (PAU).
In summer and rainy seasons, major accidents occur due to presence of poisonous gas in tubewells, collapsing of wells in sandy areas and in insecticide spraying.
The farmers also suffered snake and dog bites as that they did not wear long shoes in the fields. Those working in paddy plantation were most vulnerable to snake bites, Mr C J S Pannu and Mr N K Chhuneja of the PAU's Department of Farm Power and Machinery stated in the survey.
The farmers normally did not check the presence of poisonous gas in the wells while entering for installation or repair of motors, they said while giving reasons for people collapsing inside.
It has also been observed that the tractors oveturned due to puddling due to the driver's negligence and non-use of 'Roll Over Protective Structure (ROPS).
The report also pointed out that loose high tension wires passing above the fields come into contact with threshers during harvesting causing electric shocks which many a time proved fatal.
It suggested the state electricity board should be approached before the harvest to check such loose wires.
''The wires should be high enough so that the combine harvester with hood may pass without touching,'' the study report said.
In a particular case, a farmer had recently died due to electric shock when an electricity pole fell and caused current in the stagnant water in his field. However, the kin of the family then moved the Punjab State Human Rights Commission and the state electricity board was made to pay a compensation of two lakh Rupees to the bereaved family members.
According to a senior official in the Punjab Mandi Board, several hundred applications for such compensations were pending with the Board and with the Commissioner for Handicapped due to paucity of funds.
As per a state legislation, the Punjab Mandi Board and the state's Commissioner for Handicapped were liable to pay a compensation for such farm accidents.
The farmers also carelessly exposed themselves to pesticides, leading to various lung, skin and other diseases, as they did not wear gloves, masks and full sleeved shirts while spraying. ''The farmers using pesticides, mainly in the cotton fields, are careless about following the instructions while spraying the pesticides,'' the experts observed.
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