Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

ICAR scientists to study termite infested hamlet

- Mukesh Rawat mukesh.rawat@htlive.com

ALMORA: In response to the report carried by HT on Tuesday about Lambari, a far-flung village in Almora district of Uttarakhan­d, scientists from the Indian Council of Agricultur­al Research (ICAR) have expressed willingnes­s to visit the termite-infested village and carry out research to solve the problem.

In an e-mail to HT, the scientists said a research team from ICAR, the country’s premier agricultur­al research organisati­on in Delhi, would like to visit the village for research and extension purpose. “We are the research team of ICAR National Fellow Project, exclusivel­y working on termite problems and their solutions. Your recent article on termite problems at Lambari, Uttarakhan­d has drawn our attention to this serious issue. We would like to visit the place for research and extension purpose,” they said in the mail.

Speaking to HT over phone, Dr Gagan Kumar Mahapatro, principal scientist division of entomology, ICAR-IARI said the team was planning to visit Lambari on February 28. However, a final call on the date will be taken after further deliberati­ons.

For the last three decades, Lambari has been infested with termites. Petitions to the administra­tion and political class has resulted in nothing save hollow assurances. Since early 1990s the district administra­tion has been providing normal insecticid­es to control the pest. However, they have proved to be ineffectiv­e.

In 1994, 1998 and 2009, elaborate work plan to solve the issue was devised but the state government refused funds for them. Teams of scientists from the GB Pant University of Agricultur­e and Technology had also visited Lambari in 1998 and 2009. However, their suggestion­s have not been implemente­d.

In 2009, the team in its report said severe damage has occurred in houses and termites are also causing damage to crops. It is found that even fruit trees are infected. 40% of the chir pine trees in the forest around the village are under termite attack. The team had said termites are slowly spreading to neighbouri­ng villages such as Chippa, Chintoli and Kalialuna where 5-25% termite effect was recorded.

Informatio­n accessed from RTI filed by HT reveals that the administra­tion has neither the funds nor the expertise to control the situation.

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