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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Following a series of instances of crops being set on fire and farmer suicides, Odisha government today asserted that pest attack is a natural calamity and affected farmers will be compensated as per relief code.

Development Commissioner R. Balakrishnan, after reviewing the situation through video conferencing on Sunday, stressed on several measures to tackle the situation.

District collectors have been asked to intensify awareness drives and revenue personnel, self help groups and other grassroot level workers will be mobilized, said Balakrishnan.

Also Read: Odisha govt seeks report on damage of crops due to pest attack

The State government has already directed for disbursal of assistance for rabi crops and at present there is no need for the farmers to panic, he said.

Official sources said, use of spurious pesticides has come to notice in Sambalpur and already the licence of the retailer has been cancelled.

Meanwhile, crops in nearly 1, 78,932 hectares of agricultural land have been affected by pest menace in nine districts in Odisha.

Also Read: Kalahandi farmers now facing pest attack

As per the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) statistics, standing crops in 8,211 villages of 92 blocks and 19 urban local bodies have been affected by the pests in Bargarh, Sambalpur, Nuapada, Sonepur, Bolangir, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Koraput and Bhadrak.

There has been 33 to 50 percent crop loss in nearly 1, 12,000 hectares of land while 20 blocks in Ganjam district have been worst affected.

14 blocks in Bolangir and Koraput, 12 in Kalahandi and 11 in Bargarh have also been affected by pests this year.

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