Mysterious disease devastates cotton crop in four villages

Chandrapur: Panic has gripped more than 150 farmers in Korpana tehsil of the district, after their BT cotton crop got destroyed due to some mysterious disease, a Shetkari Sanghatna leader said here today.

Describing the situation faced by farmers in four villages in Korpana tehsil, Shetkari Sanghatana leader and former MLA Wamanrao Chatap claimed that the unknown disease destroyed BT cotton in more than 600 acres of farms belonging to around 150 farmers in Borgaon (Irai), Irai (Borgaon), Sonurli (Gadegaon) and Wirur (Gadegaon).

“I was devastated to witness the huge losses in areas when I visited these farms along with my team to take stock of the situation personally. This kind of cotton disease is being witnessed for the first time here. There are no pests and no visible signs of any other infections on cotton. The plants are affected in such a mysterious manner that their stem turn pinkish red and later the leaves dry after which the crops die a slow death,” Chatap said.

Agriculture department officials have been unable to diagnose the disease and unable to offer any remedy, he said.

He said that BT cotton seeds were sown on time and the required rounds of fertilisers and pesticides were used by farmers as per schedule, as per the prescribed method, but their hopes of getting a good yield has been shattered.

He said that it is strange to note that the cotton crop has been affected by the disease only in these villages. There is no sign of the disease in other parts of Korpana and the adjoining Rajura tehsils, he said.

Around 80 farmers from Borgaon (Irai), who sowed cotton crop in around 200 acres, are the worst affected lot and they suffered 100 per cent destruction, while farmers from other villages suffered 50 per cent losses.

He urged the state government to compensate these farmers by paying Rs 6,800 per acre, as per rules.

He said that there is no scope to sow again and hence the state government should make provisions to provide seeds for Rabi crops to ensure that these farmers survive the loss.

He also informed that a memorandum would also be given to the district collector seeking financial assistance as compensation and fresh seed for to affected farmers.