Sunita Narain | Centre for Science and Environment

Sunita Narain


Why do farmers have to die?

The agriculture minister told parliament last week that 100,000 farmers had committed suicide from 1998 to 2003, a period for which his government had data. This means 45 farmers killed themselves each day across the country. There is now information that suicides may be on the increase. In the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, unconfirmed reports talk about three suicides a day among cotton farmers, up from one a day a few years ago. But the matter goes beyond statistics.

Want to be fried?

I first learnt about slapp when we released a study about pesticides in colas. PepsiCo had filed a defamation case against us in the Delhi High Court and our lawyer, fresh out of law school in Bangalore, jumped as he read through the company’s petition saying this was a classic slapp case. We were bemused, knowing nothing about such legal intricacies. slapp, he explained, was an acronym in the us for ‘strategic lawsuits against public participation’.

Pesticides is the point, not bottled water or soft drinks

In February, we released a study on pesticide residues in bottled water being sold in the market. We reported how we found legalised pesticides in bottled water. In other words, the norms for regulating pesticide levels in these bottles were so designed that pesticide residues would not be detected.

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