Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: In a bid to protect crops from pest attack, the Odisha government has launched 'Fasal Surakhya Abhiyaan'- a programme under which 'Pest Scouts' will be deployed in all the affected areas for about 30 to 45 days.

Principal Secretary of Department of Agriculture and Farmers' Employment (AFE) has written a letter to all the district collectors regarding implementation of the campaign.

As mentioned in the letter, AFE will deploy Pest Scouts in the affected districts for about 30 to 45 days starting from October 1 to overcome the problem of delay in accessing timely technical inputs for effective pest control.

Under the campaign, as many as 120 final year students of Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) will be mobilized as Pest Scouts. They will be deployed in several vulnerable blocks of the State and will be paid normal stipend to cover their expenses.

The students will conduct pest surveillance work, in coordination with field staff, and submit datasheet to the concerned Assistant Agriculture Officer (AAO).

The Principal Secretary has instructed the Block Development Officers/Tehsildars concerned to assist the students in arranging suitable accommodation, preferably in the block headquarters.