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Pradhan seeks Centre’s intervention to tackle pest menace

Bhubaneswar: Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday urged the Centre to send a fact-finding team to take stock of the massive crop damage caused by the pests and drought in several parts of Odisha.

In a letter to Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, Pradhan has stated that crops in 1.8 lakh hectares of land in nine districts of the State have been damaged by pest infestation.

A large number of farmers in the affected districts are in distress while some of them have set fire to their standing crops and a few have also committed suicide in distress.

Though bulk of the responsibility lies on the Odisha government as protection against pests and prevention of plant disease is a state subject under 7th schedule of the Constitution, the government’s poor response to the situation has aggravated the matter.

In his letter, Pradhan stated that the situation has spiraled out of proportion due to delay on part of Odisha government in supply of subsidized pesticides to the farmers.

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“The government has also done too little and too late and by the time pesticides were used, the pests had already attacked the crops and destroyed them resulting in the crisis,” Pradhan wrote.

Apart from the pest attack, the farmers of the state are also reeling under drought condition in 15 districts.

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