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Virus kills worms, hits silk production

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  • Published 27.11.08

Malda, Nov. 27: The sudden cold wave in the district has hit hard the silkworms with thousands dying everyday.

Silkworms feed on the dark green leaves of mulberry plants. The saliva that comes out of the mouth of the grown-up worms forms the silk thread.

“The report on the mass scale deaths first came from Kaliachak. After that we conducted a survey throughout the state,” said sericulture officer of the district Subrata Das.

“We had bought 80 lakh eggs this year, but the rasa disease has struck and thousands of worms are being buried daily,” a silk cultivator said.

The state silk board had supplied 3 lakh eggs and the central 18 lakh. The cultivators bought the remaining 59 lakh eggs from private agencies.

According to official sources, the variety supplied by state government had cost Rs 180 per 100 eggs, while the central board had supplied 100 for Rs 225.

The cultivators are not sure about how they would meet the target of 3, 200 tonnes of silk this year. “I had bought Rs 5,000 worth of worms. All of them are dead. In our village, the losses range from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000. The quality of the eggs were poor,” said Asraful Biswas of Dariapur, 25km from here.

The secretary of the District Silk and Tusser Association Pranab Das alleged that the central silk board had been constantly ignoring the industry in the district. According to him, more than 75 per cent silk of the state was produced in Malda.

However, the joint director of the central silk board, Anit Kumar Roy, said there was no reason to panic. “The silkworms are dying because they have been hatched late. The fault lies with the farmers who have not followed the scientific methods of hatching. I think the overall production will not be affected.”