Bhubaneswar: The spreading menace of pests in paddy fields and farmers setting fire their standing crop has forced the state government to direct the collectors of eight districts to submit report within two days on the quantum of crop loss due to the pest attacks.

“The government is prepared to provide assistance to the affected farmers from the State Disaster Relief Fund(SDRF) ,” said the state agriculture minister Damodar Rout.

The revenue and disaster management department has issued the directions on Thursday after a farmer in Baragarh district allegedly committed suicide on Tuesday for crop loss due to pest attack. Reports have also been received from Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Rayagada and Ganjam districts that farmers have set afire their fields after failing to save their crop from pests. The state government asked the collectors of Bargarh, Bolangir, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Koraput, Nuapada, Sambalpur and Sonepur to submit reports on the quantum of crop loss due to the pest attack, the officials said.

The additional relief commissioner, Mihir Chand Mallick, has asked the district authorities to conduct joint field verification through the field functionaries of revenue and disaster management, agriculture and farmers empowerment departments and report.

The collectors were asked to furnish their reports along with detailed information about the area under crop loss to the extent of 33 per cent and above to the department within two days, an official said.

Meanwhile, Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has asked the district collector of Bargarh and secretaries of agriculture and revenue departments to submit their reports on suicides by farmers within three weeks.

It issued the notice based on a petition filed by Samajwadi Party state president Rabi Behera on the alleged suicide by a farmer from Kalapani village in Bargarh district.

On the allegation of fake pesticides being provided to farmers, Agriculture Secretary Sourav Garg said that teams have been engaged to verify the pesticides available in the markets of Bargarh district.

“Stringent action will be taken if duplicate pesticides were sold to farmers,” he said.