Swiss legal aid for Maharashtra farmers to fight pesticide MNC | India News

NAGPUR: A Swiss court has sanctioned legal aid for three people from Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district, who are fighting a case in Switzerland against agrochemical company Syngenta to seek damages for the losses caused by pesticide poisoning five years ago.
Hundreds of farmers had suffered severe poisoning while spraying pesticides on cotton fields in Yavatmal in 2017 and 23 of them had died. One farmer and the wives of two of the deceased have sued the multinational, holding it responsible for the poisoning.
Getting legal aid means the plaintiffs will get financial help through a Swiss government scheme, said Narsimha Reddy of Pesticide Action Network (PAN), the NGO through which the farmers have filed the case. The decision on legal aid came over a month ago, he said.
The plaintiffs have claimed that the deaths of the two farmers and the health problems of the survivor were caused by one of the Syngenta pesticides going by the brand name Polo. While the company denies culpability, PAN claimed that police records document 96 cases of poisoning linked to Syngenta pesticides. The petitioners had filed the case in a civil court at Basel in June 2021. A note shared by PAN with TOI said the case was filed after a compulsory mediation procedure in Switzerland failed.

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