Pest attack: Centre’s charges not based on facts, claims Odisha government

After receiving a great deal of criticism from the Centre over crop damage and administrative failure to act on Central advisory on pest attack in time, the State Government on Tuesday said all accusa

Published: 15th November 2017 03:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th November 2017 08:57 AM   |  A+A-

A farmer casts pesticides on his rice paddy field on the outskirts of Amritsar July 16, 2009. (REUTERS)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: After receiving a great deal of criticism from the Centre over crop damage and administrative failure to act on Central advisory on pest attack in time, the State Government on Tuesday said all accusations made by Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is not based on facts.

The State Government has undertaken proactive measures to protect the interests of farmers. Apart from giving timely advise how to save their crops from pest attack, the Government has provided immediate assistance to the affected farmers, a clarification issued by the Agriculture Department said.
On the purported advisory issued by National Rice Research Institute (NRRI), Cuttack on chances of infestation by Brown Plant Hopper (BPH), the Department said advisory issued by the Central agency was not specific of BHP.  “It is also unrealistic to expect the NRRI to issue a warning in the first week of October, 2017 when it has been mentioned by the scientists of NRRI and other research institutions including OUAT that the pests spread due to the continuous rainfall received during mid-October, which led to high humidity,” the State Government said.

On the other hand, the State Government issued an advisory to the farmers from October 18, 2017 onwards through advertisements in leading local newspapers and electronic media.
Blaming the State Government for the current crisis in farming sector, Shekhawat during his visit to Bargarh district on Monday said paddy crops could have been saved from attack had the State acted on the advisory issued by the Central agencies in time.

On the Union Minister’s accusation of application of wrong pesticides on crops at many places, the department said farmers were advised to use pesticides recommended by Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), Central Insecticide Board (CIB), NRRI and other institutions.
Providing a list of pesticides recommended to the farmers, the State Government said, “It is highly misleading to say that wrong pesticides were advised,” it added.

In a memorandum to the Central team led by Shekhawat, the State Government had sought financial assistance of `1713.75 crore from the Centre to tide over the crisis though a sustained solution. “It is seen that while a number of press statements for farmers support have been made, no response has been made regarding the memorandum submitted by the Government of Odisha,” the statement said.

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