Amid the harvest season of the "Boro rice" in Tripura, inadequate labor and the reported spread of an unknown disease among plants are posing serious problems for the local farmers. On one hand, farmers are struggling to harvest their ripe crops and on the other, an apparently mysterious disease is reportedly seen spreading in some parts of Gomati and South Tripura districts.
Speaking on the issue, a farmer of Jaypur area located near Agartala said, "We are facing an acute crisis of labor because of which we are failing to harvest the paddy on time. After some relaxations are granted in the third phase of the lockdown, we have begun our usual toil in the fields, but crisis of labour poses a challenge".
Echoing the same sentiment, another farmer working at an adjoining cropland, said, "Already, we are late (in harvesting the crops). People are not willing to join out of fear of the COVID-19 and we are having to harvest the crops with minimal manpower."
Meanwhile, sources said that in some areas of Gomati and South Tripura districts, an unknown disease is spreading its wings in the ripe paddy fields. After these initial scare reports, Agriculture officials paid visits to the affected areas and collected samples in order ascertain the nature of this disease.
Pertinently, Tripura Agriculture Minister Pranajit Singha Roy paid a visit to some of the croplands in Bagma area on Sunday. Addressing the media, he said, "I have ordered my department to reach out to every paddy grower in order to list out in which areas these cases are emerging. Today, we have collected some samples and it will go for testing. As per our experts, this may be caused by faulty seeds, water scarcity, or over use of water or there may be an attack of insects. We will find out the problem and resolve the issue at the earliest".
Farmers, meanwhile lament that due to this mysterious disease, the growth of the paddy plants is being affected, and in some areas, the rice is not developing at the usual rate.