Locusts devour crops in six Haryana districts
Haryana agriculture minister JP Dalal quickly visited Bithan village of Bhiwani’s Loharu and directed officials to carry out an overnight anti-locust driveUpdated: Jul 12, 2020 23:45 IST
Farmers in Haryana’s Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri, Sirsa, Mahendergarh, Jhajjar and Rewari districts reported extensive damage as their crops came under locust attacks on Saturday night.
Haryana agriculture minister JP Dalal quickly visited Bithan village of Bhiwani’s Loharu and directed officials to carry out an overnight anti-locust drive. He went on to visit the affected areas in Charkhi Dadri on Sunday and appealed to the farmers to avoid panicking.
“These insects will continue to attack the crops throughout the year, but we are ready to tackle the menace. We managed to kill over 50% of locusts in an overnight drive. All deputy commissioners have been directed to inspect the affected areas and take necessary steps. The locust swarms had entered Rajasthan via Pakistan and later reached our state. We have sufficient stock of chemicals and spraying machines to deal with the situation,” the minister said.
He told the farmers to inspect their fields and immediately report any sighting of locusts to the local agriculture development officer.
“We have also advised people to make loud noises by beating drums and thalis to drive away the locusts. Patwaris and village secretaries have been directed to spread information about the locust attack,” he added.
Action against companies for adulterating chemicals
Dalal said he has ordered the registration of FIR against four companies for mixing water in chemicals used to kill locusts. These companies will be blacklisted, he added.
Naveen Kumar, a resident of Bithan village, said despite making loud noises to drive away the locusts, their cotton, guar and bajra crops were damaged. “Agriculture officials had called fire tenders to kill the locusts, but they managed to kill only limited insects and two more swarms arrived in the morning,” he added.
Yogesh Kumar, head of entomology department at Hisar’s Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, said the swarms were coming in big numbers because of their large-scale breeding in Africa last year.
“Vast swarms of locusts swept through Haryana districts due to the wind’s direction. These insects are entering India from Pakistan through Rajasthan and Gujarat because the atmosphere in these two states is suitable for them,” he added.
Agriculture and farmers’ welfare minister JP Dalal said as per the directions of chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, reports of losses caused by the locust swarms have been sought and a special girdawari will be conducted wherever the damage is more.