A team of agricultural experts from the Centre visited villages in the cotton belt, including Bathinda, Mansa and Muktsar in the past two days. However, it did not find fields affected by whitefly. It found that the ET (Economic threshold) level was high, except some villages in Abohar.

However, the team members did not visit the villages where farmers had recently ploughed their cotton crop due to the whitefly attack.

The team had visited this area earlier July 16. The members noted that while jassid attack has increased, but the situation of whitefly was under control in Bathinda and Mansa.
The members also asked state officials to undertake special drives to check the supply of unauthorised pesticides.

The team comprised Dr BS Phogat, Additional Plant Protection Advisor, IPM Division and DPPQ &S; Director, Directorate of Cotton Development, Principal Scientist, CICR, Dr Rishi Kumar; Principal Scientist NCIPM, Dr RK Tanwar, representatives from the State Agriculture Department including Director Jasbir Singh Bains; Deputy Director, Cotton Sukhdev Singh, Bathinda Chief Agriculture Officer NS Aulakh; and representatives of Punjab Agriculture University including Director Krishi Vigyan Kendra Bathinda Paramjit Singh.

BS Phogat said, “We have visited four villages in every district of the cotton belt. The ET Level of whitefly is low but farmers have started spraying pesticides in some areas. Earlier, we recommended neem-water spray on cotton but now we have recommended to spraying of pesticide.

NS Aulakh said, “The farmers had uprooted their crop for various reasons including those who got motor connections thus foreseeing benefit from paddy crop. The team visited villages Naruana, Kot Shamir, Jaisingh wala, Nawanpind, Jaga Ram Teerath, and Ghudda.

BKU Ugrahan Mansa President Ram Singh Bhenibagha, said, “Farmers have uprooted their crop in various villages including 3 acres in Bhenibagha, 4 acres in Dodra, Bachoana, Gobindpura, Dyalpura, and other villages. However officials have escaped their visit intentionally.”

Source: August 3, 2016, The Tribune