Central body sees no locust threat in Punjab, Haryana
As the rainy season entering the last phase in northern India, scientists have assessed a bleak chance of revival of locust attacks in the states of Punjab and Haryana in the coming few months.
The evaluation based on the field input by Locust Warning Organisation (LWO), a subsidiary of the central ministry, has brought breather to cotton and paddy growers of the semi-arid districts of south Malwa belt of Punjab.
Several districts of Punjab, including Fazilka, Muktsar, Ferozepur and Bathinda, were on constant alert for the last over five months for possible invasions by swarms of migratory pests that target vegetation.
KL Gurjar, LWO deputy director and national coordinator on mitigating locust attacks, said on Monday that no locust swam was reported in Punjab and Haryana noticed in the last few weeks.
He said after movements in the parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, locust swam have returned to Rajasthan to mature and lay eggs.
“Locust tends to lay eggs during humid weather. The desert locusts normally live and breed in semi-arid regions and numerous egg colonies were reported in various parts of Rajasthan. But our teams have significantly contained the situation and almost entire these egg colonies have been wiped out,” said Gurjar.
The expert said with the onset of winter, the locust population is expected to leave the Indian region from October onwards.
Gurjar said there is no threat assessment of the pest attack in the coming months but much will depend upon Pakistan how effectively it manages the locust crisis.
On February 1 this year, Pakistan had declared a national emergency to tackle the insects destroying crops on a large scale in its Punjab province.
Two days later, few villages located along the Pakistan border in Fazilka district witnessed locust attack.
Agriculture secretary KS Pannu said no egg-laying by locust was reported in Punjab or its adjoining areas in Rajasthan and Haryana.
“Since February, Fazilka and few other districts experienced stray incidents of locust invasion but no crop loss was reported since February this year,” he added.