Pest menace: Did Odisha govt ignore the red flags?

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Bhubaneswar: While farmer suicides allegedly over crop failure due to pest menace continue to rise in Odisha, the role of BJD-led government in tackling the issue has come under scanner with the Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) claiming that it had already warned the Agriculture department of the pest attack in the beginning of October.

Pest attack has wreaked havoc across the State, especially in Bargarh district where farmers have alleged that even after using several pesticides their crops were destroyed by brown plant hopper (BPH).

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Left with no choice, farmers have set their standing crops on fire and in some cases have been forced to commit suicide.

Surprisingly, OUAT had warned the State agriculture department and also other concerned departments at the district level of pest attack in October.

“We had sent an advisory to the agriculture department in the first week of October. We even repeatedly sent it for the next two weeks,” said OUAT Dean Surendra Nath Pasupalak.

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However, Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout denied of getting any information from OUAT.

“No one has informed me about the advisory. Had I got it, I would have done something,” said Rout.

Though it is yet to be ascertained who is telling the truth, there is no denying that the pest menace has left the farmers of the State in dire straits.

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