Maharashtra government seeks Centre aid for pest-infested cotton crop
Farmers claim that the pest has become resistant to pesticides, making BT Cotton vulnerable.
The state government has decided to approach the Centre to seek compensation for cotton growing farmers who incurred losses after their crop were infested with the Pink Bollworm (or Gulabi Boand).
Although farmers and experts have said cotton crop on more than 8 lakh hectares has been hit, the government claims that the loss is not that high. Farmers claim that the pest has become resistant to pesticides, making BT Cotton vulnerable.
Relief and rehabilitation minister Chandrakant Patil said the figures of the first two cotton picking sessions in October and November show that production has doubled to 40.93 lakh quintals from last year’s 21.85 lakh quintals.
He said the production has dropped in December and is likely to be less compared to last year’s production.
“We have directed the district administration to complete the panchnama of the losses. If the losses are as per the norms set by the National Disaster Response Funds, we will request the Centre for aid and the recovery of the losses from the crop insurance,” Patil said.
The minister said that the government had started lodging FIRs against the seed companies. The minister said that the department has not yet estimated the losses of cotton crop due to the pest.
Farm experts have slammed the government for downplaying the losses.