Pests on damaging-crop spree

KENDRAPARA: Swarming caterpillars (Leda) have damaged large tracts of paddy saplings in the district badly hitting economic backbone of thousands of farmers. "Help from the administration, however, is yet to reach the villagers more than three weeks after the first swarm of insects arrived here. The insects are black in colour and measuring less than an inch in length. Most of the crops have been destroyed in the area," said Gayadhar Dhal, secretary of Kendrapara District Krusaka Sabha.