Anandapur: Artificial floods severely affected paddy, vegetable, and fish cultivation in acres of farmland in Shalabani and Mochibinda panchayats under Anandapur block in Keonjhar district after a breach was created in an under-construction canal.
Now, pests have been damaging whatever crops have been left in farmlands, farmers lamented. “Pests, especially caterpillars are damaging paddy, vegetable and jute plants. Checking their onslaught has been a difficult proposition,” they said.
The farmers are worried even though some officials of the agriculture department and the administration took stock of the situation.
“The caterpillar like pests grub the plants at night and come down to the bottom in the day time,” the farmers said.
The growing pest onslaught is reportedly acute in Chhatrakana, Panchanag, Mochibinda, Khadipal, Shalabani, Baladuan and Pandua.
Farmers Giridhar Nayak, Pranakrushna Das, Ram Jhalia, Bindu Jhalia, Chakradhar Nayak, Surendra Nayak, Rathia Nayak, Surendra Sahu, Bikash Nayak, Markand Behera and Mitrabhanu Kahali sought the Collector’s intervention for compensation to the affected farmers.
Similarly, acres of farmland in Dadhibamanpur, Akarua, Ambagadia, Tartara, Balakati and Hatadihi were also affected by pests.
Unable to check the spread of pest menace, farmers in these areas are a worried lot. Angry over this, they had blocked National Highway-53 Tuesday.
The farmers accused officials of the agriculture department of being in deep slumber and turning a blind eye to their plight. Though they had apprised some agriculture officials of the growing pest problem a few days ago, no step was taken to address their concern, the farmers alleged.