Bathinda, July 24
With whitefly and pink bollworm infestation showing no signs of abating, cotton farmers continue to remove the damaged crop so that they can grow a new one in Bathinda and Mansa districts. Farmer unions have demanded a girdawari must be ordered.
After their cotton crop got damaged by infestation, farmers Darshan Singh and Sukhdev Singh from Mehma Sarja village in Bathinda district removed the damaged crop on around five acres of land.
Darshan said, “After spending thousands of rupees on seeds, pesticides and labour, my crop got damaged. Last year also, there was infestation, but the Agriculture Department did not take any steps.”
Hardeep Singh Kaka and Mandeep Singh, farmers from Jhumba village, also resorted to the same practice.
Gurdeep Singh, a leader from the BKU (Ekta Sidhupur), said: “Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann asked farmers to be patient, citing that the infestation would be tackled soon. However, things are worsening with each passing day. After the visit of Agriculture Minister Kuldeep Dhaliwal recently, teams of the department have started conducting raids at pesticide shops and seized spurious material, but this has failed to save the crop.”
Deputy Commissioner Showkat Ahmad Parray said, “There are farmers, who after observing some damage, have ploughed their fields as a precautionary measure. At a meeting, farm leaders told us that the affected farmers had done so around 500 acres of land. We have been organising awareness camps to sensitise farmers on what steps they should take to prevent infestation in crop.”
State failed to act
The state government has failed to deal with the problem of infestation in cotton crop. This despite the fact that there was large-scale infestation last year. — Gurdeep Singh, BKU (Ekta Sidhupur)
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