Roots of death

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

a mysterious disease has struck thousands of sesam trees in the plains of north Bihar. The trees, which provide timber worth several crores, are drying up fast. The disease may also affect other trees, if immediate measures are not taken to check the problem. Bihar's forest department accepts that so far more than one-third of the sesam trees in north Bihar have dried up.

This unknown disease has rendered the trees useless as it has turned the wood porous and crumbly. Farmers have failed to protect their trees by applying different methods "The tree dries up so fast it seems as though lighting has struck it," say farmers in Motihari, northern Bihar.

Agricultural scientists think that the possible reasons could be water logging in the flood-prone plains of north Bihar. Researchers at the Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun, Uttar Pradesh, have pointed out that "root suffocation" due to water-logging is the reason why the trees are drying up. The state government, however, seems to be blissfully unaware of it.

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