Bhubaneswar, Nov 9 (IANS) The union government on Thursday constituted a high-level team under Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat to assess the crop loss due to pest attack in Odisha.
The team will visit the worst affected Bargarh district and other parts of the state on November 12.
The move came after Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan met Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh in New Delhi and discussed the crop damage situation in Odisha.
The Agriculture Minister blamed the state government for not implementing the advisory sent by the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI).
“An advisory was issued by the CRRI to the state government in the first week of October on how to use pesticides. However, the state government did not implement it, leading to the present crisis,” said Singh.
Pradhan also attacked the state government for not taking any step to address the plight of farmers.
“It’s a matter of concern that the apathy of Odisha Govt made things worse for farmers. Despite several advisories issued to the state by central government institutions, the Odisha government chose not to act. GoI on its part is committed to extend all possible support to mitigate farmers’ losses,” tweeted Pradhan.
According to the state government, about 1.78 lakh hectares of paddy farms in nine districts in western Odisha has been damaged in the massive pest attack.
In the last 10 days, nine farmers have allegedly committed suicide over crop loss due to the pest attack.
Earlier in the day, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced that a six-member team led by Lok Sabha member Om Prakash Yadav would visit Odisha for four days starting from November 10. The team will start its journey from Bargarh, will meet the farmers and assess the present situation.
Following the direction of BJP President Amit Shah, the team will review the crop loss in districts like Nuapara, Balangir, Sonepur, Boudh, Ganjam and Nayagarh by visiting the affected farmlands, said BJP Kisan Morcha’s state secretary Surath Biswal.
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