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30% cotton area in Bathinda, Mansa suffers pest attack, farmers start ploughing fields

Punjab government, meanwhile, has ordered girdwari in the entire cotton belt to assess the spread of disease

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
September 25, 2021 7:04:40 am
A farmer shows damage done by pink bollworm to his crop. (Express photo)

OVER THIRTY per cent area under cotton in Mansa and Bathinda districts is under pink bollworm attack with many farmers ploughing their standing crop after failing to save it.

Punjab government, meanwhile, has ordered girdwari in the entire cotton belt to assess the spread of disease. While many farmers have already ploughed their fields, others are waiting for the girdwari teams to assess their damage for due compensation.

Attack is on BT varieties of cotton and not on Desi cotton, confirmed Manjit Singh, chief agriculture officer, Bathinda and Mansa.

He said, “Cause of this attack is the cotton stalk of last season which farmers keep as a source of fuel in their houses, tubewell rooms or near fields etc. These stalks are picked from fields after cotton plucking. Even now, last year’s stock of cotton stalks hasn’t been consumed fully while new crop has started coming in the market. These stalks at times act as breeding ground for pink bollworm and hence they attack the crop in the fields. This has happened in many areas this time. Once the insect starts attacking the crop, initial control by pesticides is a must as later on it becomes uncontrollable. Hence, many farmers didn’t use pesticides in August when this pest started appearing in crop first of all.”

Information revealed that area under cotton last year was 2.5 lakh hectares which has increased to 3 lakh hectares this year. In Bathinda, area under cotton is on 96,000 hectares while 65,000 hectares in Mansa. Manjit Singh said, “Nearly 30 per cent of the crop is under pest attack. We need to assess the percentage of damage through girdwari.”

In Sangrur, Deputy Commissioner Ramvir said crops here were not under pink bollworm attack while information from Muktsar revealed that reports of pest infestation have come from one village of Gidderbaha, while rest of the district is reported safe as of now. Fazilka district is also in the safe zone, as per sources. Information from Agriculture department revealed that pink bollworm attack is very severe in many Haryana villages while in Punjab they are dealing with it after a long gap. Meanwhile Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal will be visiting few villages of Talwandi Sabo to meet the farmers over the issue. She had also demanded Rs 20,000 per acre compensation for farmers. She also alleged that spurious quality of pesticides were the reasons for no effect of pesticides on crop. She demanded an inquiry in this case and punishment to culprits as well.

Samyukta Kisan Morcha has asked Punjab government to compensate farmers or they will start protests from September 30.

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