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Cotton Belt in Punjab's Bathinda Faces Pink Bollworm Attack, Prompts Deployment of Agricultural Officials

Punjab's Agriculture Minister Gurmeet Singh Khudian has ordered senior officials to oversee cotton crops in districts affected by pink bollworm infestation, ensuring pest prevention and farmer support, while also monitoring pesticide quality and sales.

Shivangi Rai
Bollworm is a deadly pest that appears when the cotton plant is in the flowering stage. (Image Courtesy- Canva)
Bollworm is a deadly pest that appears when the cotton plant is in the flowering stage. (Image Courtesy- Canva)

Gurmeet Singh Khudian, Punjab's Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, has taken swift action in response to reports about a severe infestation of pink bollworms causing extensive damage to cotton crops in specific villages of Bathinda district.

He has directed the urgent assignment of four experienced senior officers to be stationed in the Muktsar, Bathinda, Fazilka, and Mansa districts. Their objective is to address this issue, and their assignment will continue until August 31, which is a crucial period for the crop's health.

Khudian's strategy has prompted these officials to forgo their weekly breaks for the duration of this month, an indication of the severity of the situation. This strategic move comes in light of the Punjab agriculture department's swift response to counteract the pink bollworm infestation that has imperiled cotton crops in the Bathinda district.

The minister has underlined the urgency of the next 15 days, emphasizing that they hold the key to the crop's survival. The designated senior officers have been assigned several critical responsibilities. 

Foremost among these is the on-site assessment of the cotton fields, enabling them to appraise the extent of the damage and provide invaluable guidance to farmers on preventative measures against this pest invasion. Simultaneously, they will exercise diligent oversight of the officials involved in the remediation efforts.

Minister Khudian's expectations for the agriculture department officials extend further. He has called upon them to venture into the fields, working collaboratively with farmers to alleviate the crisis.

Additionally, he has insisted on receiving daily updates in the form of status reports, compelling his team to maintain unwavering vigilance and accountability throughout this campaign.

Khudian's commitment to resolving the crisis is absolute, as evident from his stern warning against any lapses in duty. Those failing to fulfill their responsibilities will be met with rigorous consequences, as affirmed in an official statement.

Beyond this, the minister has issued directives for these officials to conduct thorough investigations into the trading of pesticides. Their responsibilities include visiting both retail establishments and manufacturing units, alongside a regular assessment of the quality and pricing of pesticides available to farmers. Khudian's stance on counterfeit products is unequivocal, he pledges no sympathy for those peddling fraudulent pesticides.

In effect, Punjab's agriculture sector is now engaged in a resolute effort to safeguard its cotton crops against the relentless pink bollworm onslaught. Minister Khudian's proactive approach, backed by the deployment of experienced officers, underscores the state's commitment to its farmers and agricultural resilience.

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