Barnala: Amarjit Kaur gets out of bed on her tiptoes early morning while it is still dark and the rest of her family is in deep slumber. She quickly fetches a sprinkler kept outside her house to water her small patch of vegetables, before adding manure to another tilled portion of the land. A resident of Bhotna village in Punjab’s Barnala district, the 45-year-old has been following this routine for the past 11 years.
Adopting organic farming, the woman says, was the only way to bring down the high incidence of cancer in the district, which has been linked to the unregulated use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers. Amarjit is a member of the 2,000-odd group of women in Bhotna, who have been fighting against what they call “cancerous farming practices”.