‘Chakada’ pest menace assuming crisis proportion in Western Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Farmers in three districts of Western Odisha are now grappling with Brown Plant Hoppers (Chakada) which are now posing a serious threat to standing crops in several hectares of agricultural land.

What has compounded the misery of farmers is the ‘inefficiency’ of the Odisha Agriculture department which is yet to act even though the situation has assumed crisis proportions.

Sources said, nearly 14 blocks in Bolangir, Kuchinda in Sambalpur, Birmaharajpur in Sonepur and most blocks in Bargarh district have been affected the Chakada pest.

According to sources, farmers are now a worried lot as on one hand; pesticides provided by the government seem to be not effective while on the other, farmers are being forced to buy pesticides from the open market at much higher rates.

“We are not getting any pesticides and support from government officials,” alleged a farmer from Bolangir.

Another farmer from Sambalpur informed that the situation has worsened and they are worried mostly on how to repay the loans.

“We are alert and pesticides have been stocked in all blocks. Field officers have been instructed to take necessary steps,” said Agriculture officer of Sambalpur, Khagendra Jena.

Secretary of the Agriculture department, Saurabh Garg informed that no farmer needs to worry as adequate measures are being taken to tackle the situation.

“We have adequate resources to deal with the situation. Our officers will review the situation and steps will be taken accordingly,” said Garg.