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Whitefly attack: Hry govt assures compensation to cotton farmers

The Haryana government on Monday assured compensation to cotton growers in the state who suffered losses due to crop damage by whiteflies or wilting.

Cotton growers whose crops got damaged by whitefly or due to sudden wilting would be compensated irrespective of whether or not they have enrolled under the crop insurance scheme ”Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana”, Additional Chief Secretary (agriculture and farmers” welfare department) Sanjeev Kaushal said.

He said that as per the directions of Agriculture Minister J P Dalal, the revenue department has been asked to conduct a ”special girdawari” (survey) in a timely manner in the fields of those cotton growers who have not registered under the crop insurance scheme.

For those who have enrolled under the scheme, compensation would be given on the basis of loss assessment and farmers need not apply individually as such assessment would be undertaken at the village level, he added.

Kaushal said that following reports of whitefly attacks in districts Sirsa, Hisar, Fatehabad, Jind and Bhiwani, the agriculture department had cautioned cotton growers in an advisory against using a mixture of two or more insecticides on their crops.

The advisory instead recommends application of neem-based remedies and monitoring of crops, particularly after downpours and irrigation.

A communication campaign has also been launched in the affected districts to raise awareness about the judicious use of insecticides, Kaushal said.

Cotton is being cultivated in about 7.36 lakh hectares in 14 districts across the state during Kharif-2020, officials had earlier said.

Districts Sirsa, Hisar, Fatehabad, Jind and Bhiwani are leading in cotton cultivation this season with 2.10 lakh hectares, 1.47 lakh hectares, 0.72 lakh hectares, 0.70 lakh hectares and 0.88 lakh hectares, respectively, under the cash crop.

The whitefly acts as a vector in the spread of leaf curl virus disease, and is a migratory insect, making its control very difficult.

Excessive attack of this insect turns green cotton leaves black, thus hampering the photosynthesis process and significantly reducing the yield and quality of the produce.

Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has demanded a compensation of at least Rs 30,000 per acre to farmers affected by wilting and white fly disease. PTI