7 Haryana districts on alert as locusts approach state’s borders
With the reports of locusts entering some pockets of neighbouring Punjab and Rajasthan, the Haryana government has put on alert its seven bordering districts — Sirsa, Fatehabad, Hisar, Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri, Rewari and Mahendergarh — and asked the administrations to take all-out preventive and remedial steps.
Locusts, which fly in swarms often covering almost the entire skyline of an area, are short-horned grasshoppers with migratory habit, marked polymorphism (genetic variation within a population) and feed voraciously on crops and vegetations.
According to latest reports, locust swarms have already been reported entering Phulon Chadha and Panniwala Morka villages of Sirsa district.
Additional chief secretary, agriculture, Sanjeev Kaushal said the state government which was in a constant touch with the Centre’s locust control unit in Jodhpur as well as its Punjab counterpart, agreed locusts were reportedly moving towards the districts bordering Rajasthan and Punjab.
He said the government has authorised deputy commissioners to form farmers’ groups, give them advisories and supply the required insecticides with up to 100% subsidy. The local administration has also been supplied stocks of the required insecticides, he added.
Locusts swarms are said to be a rare phenomenon as India has not witnessed any full-blown locust cycles after 1962, though in 1978 and 1993, large-scale upsurges were observed, senior Haryana agriculture department officials said, adding that localised locust breeding has also been reported and controlled in 1998, 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2010.
The situation remained normal and no major breeding and swarm formation has been reported in this part of the country after that.
Such swarms were last spotted in Rajasthan, Punjab and bordering villages of Haryana in February this year, though no crop loss was reported.
PREVENTION AND REMEDY
Besides insecticides, locusts also can be prevented from settling on crops and vegetations by beating drums/making loud noise. Since swarms settle towards sunset, insecticides sprayed in night or early morning decimate them.