The Mirror of Manipur || Fast, Factual and Fearless.

AIMS flags up dangers of widespread Congress grass in Manipur


Stating that it is a form of biological warfare to devastate the soils of Manipur with poppy in the hills and congress grass (parthenium hysterophorus) in the plains, AIMS Director Atom Sunil Singh urged Minister Th Biswajit Singh to save Manipur from congress grass and poppy.

TFM Desk

Apunba Imagi Machasing (AIMS) has raised concern over fast spreading congress grass (parthenium hysterophorus) in Manipur. As this drought-tolerant plant is only found on the roadsides of Manipur, it has expressed suspicion of a biological warfare to devastate the soils of Manipur by dropping seeds from vehicles onto the roadside.

Now, the congress grass is grown everywhere on the roadsides of Manipur. The aggressive dominance of this weed endangers biodiversity in Manipur, AIMS said in a representation to the Minister for Forest, Environment and Climate Change Department, Agriculture Department Th Biswajit Singh.

The organisation has urged the minister to save Manipur from congress grass and poppy.

In the representation, AIMS Director Atom Sunil Singh mentioned that Manipur is waging a “War on Drugs”, particularly against poppy cultivation. Not only are these activities harmful to health, but they also cause artificial floods, droughts, landslides, mud-flows, and soil erosion. As a result, the soil in the hills of Manipur is poisoned by poppy cultivation, he added.

In contrast, the plain areas of Manipur have an abundance of congress grass (parthenium hysterophorus). Several studies have shown that congress grass is one of the most troublesome and noxious weeds, reducing crop production in America, Asia, Africa and Australia, he said.

Sunil further said Congress grass contains dangerous toxins, including parthenin, hysterin, hymenin, and ambrosin. Skin diseases and respiratory malfunction can be caused by contact with the plant in humans and animals. Prolonged exposure to the plant can cause skin inflammation, eczema, asthma, allergic rhinitis, allergic bronchitis, hay fever, black spots, burning, blisters around the eyes, diarrhoea, and breathlessness, he added.

Congress grass pollen can also cause asthma (allergic bronchitis), especially among children who play outdoors as well as adults. The spread of the problem all over the body can cause significant discomfort, he stated.

The representation maintained that various animals, including horses and cattle, also suffer from dermatitis when congress grass is consumed, which causes mouth ulcers and excessive salivation. This plant kills cattle when fed a significant amount (10-52%). In addition, it causes anorexia, pruritus, alopecia, and diarrhoea in dogs. It can also cause acute illness in cattle when fed and weaken the immune system.

Stating that congress grass has strong allelopathic effects on several crops, the representation said it may inhibit germination and radical growth in various dicotyledonous and monocotyledonous plants. It also affects the activity of nitrogen-fixing and nitrifying bacteria. Pollens produced by parthenium are enormous (on average 624 million/plant), and at least 600-800 of them are transported away and deposited on vegetative and floral parts of the plant, it added.

If these pollen are left uncontrolled throughout the growing season, yield declines may range from 40 to 97%. Moreover, the plant serves as a host for many viruses that cause plant diseases. A total habitat change has been attributed to congress grass in native Australian grasslands, open woodlands, riverbanks, and floodplains, it said.

The representation said it is a drought-tolerant plant and grows faster during the rainy season. Congress grass, which was introduced in Manipur a couple of years back, is not native to Manipur and might be brought here intentionally to degrade the environment of Manipur. Because, unlike other drought-tolerant plants that can flourish in any soil type, this drought-tolerant plant is only found on the roadside of Manipur. It is obvious that it was planted by dropping seeds from vehicles onto the roadside.

AIMS maintained that it is a form of biological warfare to devastate the soils of Manipur with poppy in the hills and congress grass in the plains. An act of biological warfare is intended to kill, harm, or incapacitate humans, animals, or plants by using biological toxins or infectious agents. A biological weapon is similar to nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, and radiological weapons as Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Biological warfare may not be carried out by indigenous people judging by the attacks on both hills and plains of Manipur.

Pointing out that it is high time to exterminate congress grass from Manipur’s soil, AIMS urged the minister to take a decisive step to protect Manipur from congress grass cultivation as well as poppy cultivation.

You might also like
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.