Call for co-ordinated involvement of all in the management of harmful weed, Parthenium in Manipur

-Dr N Irabanta Singh
Parthenium- the toxic weed is spreading at an alarming rate throughout Manipur Valley specially 0n either side of National and State highways including inter village roads. All parts of the weed at any stage of its growth are toxic to human beings and animals. Ever since 2009, the writer had been studying Parthenium problems in NE India. He tried an integrated approach viz.,mechanical, chemical, biological and cultural methods for controlling Parthenium. But none offers complete eradication of the weed (Irabanta Singh,2012,2019 and Irabanta Singh,,2017). The writer suggests that people’s participation is the only means to eradicate Parthenium from the soil of NE India in general and Manipur in particular (The Sangai Express, June 12, 2019).In this article, the writer call for co-ordinated involvement of voluntary organisations, like volunteers of National Service Scheme (NSS), extension education through participation approach by farmers, school going students, elected members of PRIs (Panchayati Raj Institutions) and community managementprogramme on this harmful weed in Manipur.
Parthenium Management through NSS Volunteers
The NSS Volunteers from colleges and Universities in Manipur can undertake cleaning of Parthenium in their campuses and surrounding places regularly. The annual camps and special camps are other occasions where they can go out of the campus and serve the public. The workshops, group discussions can provide useful information to the volunteers. They can adopt municipal corporation areas, villages for cleaning the weed. The annual camps and special camps conducted in rural areas will help them to create awareness in the farming community. Since the involvement of agricultural undergraduate students is another advantage in the effective realization of NSS objectives. The regular exhibitions and Krishi Melas will be another occasion where farmers will be directly finding solution to their queries for the management of this deadly weed. This will be a real and live example for eradication of Parthenium by the involvement of NSS Volunteers.
Parthenium Management through participatory approach
The participatory approach aims at bringing about change in people’s attitude towards their environment and adoption of interventions for agriculture development. Field survey could be conducted in village involving selected farmers from different district of Manipur. The percentage of the Parthenium in uncropped areas and problems encountered during weeding and adoption by the farmers could be recorded based on visual observation and also by interviewing the farmers.Participatory approach through school going children can make them familiarise the harmful aspects of Parthenium through awareness programme, training, demonstration, extension bulletins in the regional languages/ dialects. Recently 50,000-/ saplingswere planted on World environment day (5th June, 2019) involving students from 950 schools and 80 colleges of Manipur. It was organized by the Education Department, Government of Manipur( The Sangai Express, June 7, 2019). It was a good step taken up by the Education Department, Manipur. Similar awareness programme on the ill effects of Parthenium can be taken up by the Education Department, Manipur that will help us to safe our environment and biodiversity from the harmful effect of Parthenium. However, recruiting school children in large scale Integrated Parthenium Weed Management (IPWM) Programme are quite disturbing in the eyes of any human right activists whether we should push our kids to such risks jobs of manual eradication task? Certainly not (Mahapatroet al.,2010).
Parthenium Management through elected members of PRIs
Assam, Orissa, Haryana and Manipur have two –tier system Panchayati- Raj; viz., (i) the Village Panchayat and (ii) the Panchayat Samiti. Under Manipur State Panchayat Parishad, there are 6( six) Zilla Parishad Adhyaskshas ( Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur, Thoubal, Jiribam and Kakching). Further, there are 6(six) Up-Adhyaskshas for 6 (six) Zilla Parishads. The village Panchayat in Manipur constitutes of 60 Zilla Parishad members including 6 Adhyaskshas and 6 Up-Adhyaskshas. Tha Panchayat Samiti in Manipur comprises of 161 Pradhans, 1553 Ward members, out of which 161 Up- Pradhans are nominated. The total number of elected members 1774 (60 Zilla Parishad members, out of which 6 Adhyaskshas are nominated, 161 Pradhansand 1553 ward members) constitute Panchayati Raj Institution in Manipur. The Manipur Panchayat Parishad is comprise ofAdvisors – 3 in Nos., President -1, Vice President- 2 in Nos., Secretary -1,Auditor -1 and all elected members. Very recently the Parishad members arranged reception function of newly elected Honourable M.P (Inner Manipur Lok Sabha Constitution) Dr. R.K. Ranjan Singh was held on 10th June,2019. The writer also attended the function as one of the 3 Advisor. While delivering his address, the writer took the chance for giving awareness of Parthenium management in Manipur to about 400 elected members present on that function with a request to give message to the populace of Manipur.Along with the lecture, he also distributed an extension bulletin on “Biological based integrated Management of Parthenium” written in Manipuri (Bengali script).
Community Parthenium Management Programme
By arranging campaigns involving Government department, private Organization, local bodies, Educational Institutions, Youth Clubs, Self help Groups and NGOs awareness programmes and demonstration on integrated management practices will help to manage Parthenium successfully and effectively.
Extension strategies for integrated management of Parthenium
i) We have to use well decomposed organic matter made from Parthenium to the field crops. Thus, this will help in reducing the germination of Partheniumweed.
ii) We have to restrict the movement of Parthenium from one place to other after weeding and burnt them on the spot as far as possible or burry in the soil.
iii) We have to remove the Parthenium weed before flowering which reduces the reproduction. This help to keep our environment clean and hygiene.
iv) We have to remove Parthenium plants along with the entire root.
v) We have to remove the weed during rainy season by wearing plastic gloves or covers and also by covering the exposed portion of the body.
vi) We can use Competitive plants like sickle pod – Thounam Macha (Cassia tora L.), etc for suppressing Parthenium. Thus, we need to supply seeds of this plants to the farmers and public at low cost or even free.
vii) We can use post- emergent herbicides glyphosate (1.0-1.5%) for total vegetative control or metribuzing (0.3-0.5%) if grasses are to saved.
Control of Parthenium is to be made through integrated management and lone method does not come under complete control of Parthenium. Management through awareness programme, training, demonstrations, Mass media, extension bulletins are recommended.
The writer is Retd. Professor (HAG)/ Life Sciences, Manipur University, Canchipur and Advisor, Manipur State Panchayat Parishad, Porompat.