NALBARI, Sept 14 - A total of 913 hectares of sali paddy crops have been affected in Nalbari district by the rice swarming caterpillars. Poor farmers of four agricultural circles � Ghograpar, Kamarkuchi, Chamata and Tihu � are the worst-affected ones.
According to sources in the Agriculture Department, till now altogether 1,950 farmer families of the district were affected by the attack of the caterpillars. The Agriculture Department has, so far, sprayed pesticides in 370 hectares of affected paddy fields. District Agriculture Officer Dambarudhar Patowary told this Correspondent that the government has decided to provide 60 litres of pesticides and 20 spray machines to the affected farmers.
The situation is disheartening in the Uttarkuchi areas under Ghograpar agriculturae circle in Nalbari district. One Haren Kalita, a progressive farmer of the village who is also the local panchayat member, cultivated sali paddy in five bighas of land, only to see them completely ruined by the swarming caterpillars.
The condition of the farmers like Riten Hira, Bulu Das, Minu Das, Intaz Ali is similar. They have sprayed pesticides in their fields two three times but are yet to get relief from the army worms. The farmers of nearby villages � Bangnabari, Sonkani, Chatama � were seen spraying pesticides, when this correspondent visited the areas.
It may be mentioned here that the drought affected areas are more vulnerable to the attack of this worms.
Dr Mridul Deka, a scientist with the Nalbari Krishi Vigyan Kendra, is hopeful of the problem subsiding within two three days. He suggested the farmers to spray Tricel or Noven to control the menace. He called upon the farmers not to top dress urea in the affected paddy fields right now as it will increase the population of the worms. The Nalbari KVK is counseling the farmers on the steps to be taken to fight this menace.