Nagaland govt declares Peren rodent menace as 'natural calamity'

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Kohima, Oct 19 (UNI) The Nagaland government has declared the rodent attacks following the bamboo flowering in Peren district as 'natural calamity' and estimated the damages to be ''colossal''.

Official sources here today said Nagaland Agriculture Minister Dr Chumben Murry, who visited Peren district yesterday, along with Planning and Coordination Minister T R Zeliang, attended the District Planning and Development Board (DPDB) at Peren and took the stock of the situation, extent of damage of the various crops and various measures to fight the menace.

He also asked the officials of his department to explore various means to provide the affected farmers with alternative cropping with Kharif crops.

Giving an account to the Minister, the District Agriculture Officer informed that a total of 82 villages under three Sub-Divisions of the district were affected and an area of 3,037 hectares of agricultural land, belonging to 5,199 farmers, were affected.

Dr Murry disclosed that 10,000 rodent traps were distributed among the affected farmers with proper training of awareness and operations, besides 3,000 kg of rodent killing poison and 3,000 kg of pesticide, have been distributed to control the menace.

Besides, awareness programmes were arranged to take care of health hazards from the pesticides.

He lamented that the bamboo flowering was predicted well ahead of time, but the state government and the people could not take appropriate measures in time, due to which the menace had been aggravated.

The Minister further informed that 10,000 tonnes of potato seeds will be distributed among the affected farmers to compensate their losses with Kharif crops and the state government has sanctioned Rs 50 lakh to combat the menace.

He further informed that the Nagaland Bamboo Development Agency is converting the flowered bamboo to charcoal using Chinese and local methods to reduce the flowering menace, as well as help the farmers with other facilities.

Both the Ministers later visited some of the affected areas of the districts, where paddy crops, as well as maize and millets, are standing without a single grain.

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