Bhubaneswar: November 05: Crop loss due to certain pest has become a major issue before the farmers of Odisha. In nine districts of Odisha, crops in nearly 1, 78,932 hectares of agricultural land have been affected by pest menace. Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) statistics says, crops in 8,211 villages of 92 blocks and 19 urban local bodies have been affected by the pests. Nine districts which have suffered most are: Bargarh, Sambalpur, Nuapada, Sonepur, Bolangir, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Koraput and Bhadrak. 14 blocks in Bolangir and Koraput, 12 in Kalahandi and 11 in Bargarh have also been affected by pests this year.
The current pest menace has disturbed the affected farmers and in despair, series of instances of crops being set on fire by the farmers themselves.
Brunda Sahu, a villager of Kalapani in Bargarh district, torched his cultivated land as he failed to save the maize crops from the brown plant hopper (BPH) attack. As alleged, Sahu had urged the administration to take necessary steps to control the pest menace, no action was reportedly taken. Next Day, he went to his field early in the morning and consumed poison. He was taken to the hospital but soon died while undergoing treatment. It is said, Sahu had taken a loan of around Rs 500,000 to cultivate an area of 15 acres
Another farmer has committed suicide in Bargarh district due to mental distress. The deceased has been identified as P.Nabin Kumar of Nuakhairpali village. As reported, Kumar had consumed pesticides after visiting his agricultural field on Saturday and died while undergoing treatment at Burla hospital today.
Odisha government today said that pest attack is a natural calamity and affected farmers will be compensated as per relief code. Development Commissioner R. Balakrishnan, after reviewing the situation said, District collectors have been asked to have special drives to create awareness besides revenue personnel, self help groups and other grassroot level workers will be mobilized. Also, Odisha Government has directed for disbursal of assistance for rabi crops.