Govt creating buffer zone near Indo-Bangla border to combat wheat blast


Kolkata Govt creating buffer zone near Indo-Bangla border to combat wheat blast In the wake of the deadly wheat blast disease destroying wheat on 8,00 hectare land in Nadia and Murshidabad earlier this year with the fungus sneaking in from Bangladesh, the state government is creating a buffer zone in the border area to prevent the entry of any contaminated crop from the neighbouring country.

The state has already banned wheat cultivation within five km from the Bangladesh border. "We will ensure that the farmers in the borders who cultivated wheat on that affected land in the two districts produce crops of such nature that have minimum chances of contamination. We are holding talks with experts seeking their opinion on the nature of crops that can be cultivated there. Pulses can be an option as it needs less water. There is usually paucity of water in the border," state Agriculture minister Purnendu Basu said.

The Agriculture department has issued advisory to the farmers in the region on using bio-fertilizers on the affected land as the entire wheat crop on the land was destroyed by setting it on fire.

"The use of such fertilizers will ensure good produce in the next season," Basu said. The government has already paid a total compensation of about Rs 4.10 crore. The rate has been Rs 1,625 per quintal, which is the minimum support price of wheat," said a state Agriculture department official. Jalangi, Domkal, Raninagar, Nawda and Hariharpara in Murshidabad and Tehatta, Karimpur and Chapra in Nadia were the places that were affected by this disease Wheat blast is one of the most fearsome and intractable wheat diseases in the recent decades and is caused by the fungus Magnaporthe Oryzae. In April 2016, the fungus entered Asia for the first time, creating havoc in Bangladesh where crops of over 20,000 hectares in six districts had to be burnt. Once infected, there is no way to "cure" the affected crop. Blast directly strikes the wheat ear and can shrivel and deform the grain in less than a week after the first symptoms are noticed, leaving farmers with no time to act. Bangladesh has 4,096-km border with India of which 2,217 km is with Bengal.


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