RAHA, Sept 1 - The rapid spread of the highly allergic and poisonous parthenium weed all over Raha has become a cause of concern for the residents and the farmer community. The conscious residents of the locality have described it as a major emerging threat to the environment, biodiversity and crop land.
Popularly known as Congress grass or carrot weed, parthenium hysterophorus is also called as gajar ghas, white cap, or safed topi etc. This deadly weed is believed to have been introduced in India as a contaminant through wheat imports from the USA. In India, it was first recorded in 1810 in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland and in Pune in 1955. By 1972, it had spread to the majority of the western States from Kashmir in the north to Kerala in the south.
In Assam, the weed was first noticed in 1979. Although the overall spread in terms of density and infestation level of the weed is medium in Assam compared to the rest of India, it is now rapidly covering new surroundings here and posing a serious threat to the environment.
This weed has been spreading since the last two to three years in Nagaon district, specially in Raha causing concern to the people of the area. It is known that any part of the plant (even the root) can cause subsequent risk of allergic reactions. In human beings, it causes health hazards like skin allergy (dermatitis), hay fever, asthma and bronchitis. There is no immediate cure for these ailments, except to keep away from the plant.
Animals are equally prone to the harmful effect of the weed. Whenever animals walk or graze through parthenium, their udders are inflamed and they suffer from fever and rashes. Histopathology of the kidney and liver revealed degenerative changes and necrosis. The milk consumption of the animals grazing around parthenium invaded fields is hazardous to man. Some animals feeding on parthenium die due to acute dysentery, itching, cryhematous, development of oedema around eyelids, dorsum of tongue, loss of hair etc.
Despite the weed achieving the status of a �worst weed� in many countries owing to its allelopathic effects on agricultural crop production and harmful effects on people and animals, the State government, district administration of Nagaon, Forest department and Agriculture department remain silent and exibits their lack of seriousness in managing the weed.
It is time the State government and authorities concerned come up with a proper action plan to prevent further spread of the weed and to recover the precious land encroached by parthenium.