Mansa, June 23
After causing substantial damage to the cotton crop last year, pink bollworm infestation is beginning to spread its tentacles yet again.
Last week, Gurpreet Singh of Ramdittewala village had shared a video on social media showing more than 50 per cent damage to his cotton crop. Following which, several teams of the Agriculture Department were rushed to the village to prevent further spread of the pest attack. This week, another farmer from Bhalaike village ploughed his cotton crop in the fields after noticing pink bollworm attack.
We are spreading awareness among farmers regarding prevention of pest attack. Surveys are underway in villages where pink bollworm attack is being reported. If it rains in the coming days, it will reduce the risk of pest attack. —Manjit Singh, Chief agricultural officer, Mansa
The pink bollworm infestation has been reported on a smaller scale in other villages of the district as well. Farmers feared that if preventive measures would not be taken in time by the authorities concerned then it may spread further, thus causing damage on a large scale.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has issued directions to the Agriculture Department and the district administration to take preventive measures to tackle the the spread of infestation.
Kuldeep Singh of Bhalaike village said, “I had sown cotton crop on two acres. After observing that a few plants have been attacked by pink bollworm, I ploughed them. Keeping the crop for more time would have meant substantial loss as the pest spreads quite rapidly. Now, I will sow something else. It has caused severe loss to me and the government must provide compensation.”
Gurpreet said, “I had sown cotton crop around April 20. Owing to hot weather conditions, the plants were growing properly, but when I observed it closely, more than half of my crop was under pink bollworm attack. I had shared a video on social media so that other farmers and the administration get to know about the infestation and they can take preventive steps.”
Farmers rued that the district administration has not learnt any lessons from the last year and required steps were not taken by the state government and the Agriculture Department to prevent pink bollworm attack on the cotton crop.
Mansa Deputy Commissioner Jaspreet Singh said, “The matter is in our knowledge and teams of the Agriculture Department have been sent to the village. The infestation was that of an early stage. We are getting residual and damaged cotton bolls from previous season destroyed at Ramdittewala and surrounding four villages.”
“Farmers are being sensitised on how to prevent their crop from infestation. Pesticides cannot be used at this stage,” said the DC.
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