Vivek Gupta’s Zero Hour Mention on potential fungal infections of rice and wheat

Through you I want to bring to the notice of the Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture today that India is facing a very serious threat of wheat blast and rice blast. Already the disease has reached Bangladesh and that is where the origin has been confirmed. Sir, since 1985, this is the first time the disease has reached South Asia; that is why, there is no knowledge about the disease.

Sir, the disease is also caused by a fungus called Magnaporthe oryzae, about which India has no knowledge. It is reportedly because of the repeated and excessive use of nitrogen in our fertilizers. Sir, it spread very fast but the Government has already gone ahead and said there is no reason for any panic, that this is a wheat fungus and we can take care of it. The disease is also known to resist chemical treatments and genetic treatments.

Sir, the damages in various countries because of this disease is enough to feed 60 million people every year. Already, 15,000 acres around West Bengal on the Bangladesh side have been damaged. Whether it is a matter of a few months or days or weeks, we don’t know, when this will reach Bengal and the other parts of India.

Sir, through you I would request the Hon’ble Minister to urgently take steps to prevent this from reaching India and to make the farmers aware on how to combat this disease because of farmers will also be affected. Also, Sir, some states of these diseases also mix with rice and wheat in such a manner that it remains undetected, and it is only detected when it is consumed by humans, and then they ultimately die.

Sir, every Indian eats about 4 kg of wheat every month. So, this is a potential danger for which the Central Government needs to take resolute action along with providing necessary financial and technical assistance to State Governments to deal with such an impending danger.

Thank you, Sir.