Indigenous no-state people

Climate change is not killing Muga, but tea pesticides

No action has been taken against tea growers who have been responsible for death of lakhs of Muga worms last month at Dhakuakhana in Lakhimpur district.

After massive loss in Muga rearing, the farmers of Dhenukhona-Hiloidhari village in Dhakuakhana sub-division have filed case against a number of tea gardens.

Rampant uses of pesticides in nearby tea gardens killed Muga worms while they were feeding on Som trees last month. Muga is a unique and exclusive golden silk textiles produced in Assam.

Muga larva and worm rearing is outdoor activity and polluted air affects it easily.

Muga is very sensitive to the odour of toxic chemicals, temperature and humidity.

The phenomenon has been taking place in the past years also. But Muga farmers protested rampant uses of pesticides last month.

Affected Muga farmers have filed case against Duleshwar Gogoi, Pranab Gogoi, Min Gogoi, Hemanta Gogoi, Ruhiteshwar Gogoi and Nitya Gogoi, who are tea garden owners.

Ghilamora Police has already processed the inquiry, but no effective action has been taken so far.

After fall and finally death of lakhs of worms, the farmers lodged a joint FIR in Ghilamara Police Station. Police had registered the case.

Dead Muga worms. Photo credit – Amit Paban Bora

But police claim that they have no suitable law or act to take action against tea planters. The farmers of Dhenukhona have a cultivation of Som trees covering an area of thousand hectares and Muga has been a traditional livelihood and occupation for many local people.

It has been mentioned in the FIR that around 5 million worm feed on Som trees have died. Muga farmers brought seed worth Rs 1 million and it could have produced silk of hundred crores.

Amit Paban Bora, a local social activist and writer, alleged that as soon as the case was registered it came to light that there is no government protection to save the golden silk heritage of Assam.

Tea planters have violated all norms of uses of pesticides and Muga cultivation is now in peril.

It may be mentioned that it was earlier a section of people had blamed climate change to be the reason behind the death of Muga worms.

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