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Now, locust spotted in Bathinda, Faridkot villages, agri dept on toes

Hindustan Times, Bathinda | By HT Correspondent, Bathinda
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2020 10:10 PM IST

Locust was spotted in the fields in nearly two dozen villages in Bathinda and Faridkot districts, a day after the insect was seen in parts of Fazilka district on Friday, sending the agriculture department officials into a tizzy even as they claimed the number of pests was too less to harm the crops.

On Saturday, the insect was spotted at Sekhu, Bandi, Phulomithi, Pathrala, Rai Ke Kalan, Pakka Kalan, Teona, Multania, Ablu, Fallad, Chak Ruldu Singh Wala and Kotbakhtu villages in Bathinda district.

Locusts in small numbers were seen at Bathinda’s Sekhu village on Friday evening after which agriculture officials visited the fields and asked the farmers to take precautionary measures. The number increased on Saturday morning, it was learnt.

Bathinda chief agriculture officer Gurditta Singh said insects could be checked manually as their number was low.

He said announcements are being made in villages through gurdawara loudspeakers asking farmers to create noise so that locusts don’t sit on their crops. Teams of department officials are visiting the villages and educating farmers, he added.

In Faridkot district, locusts were seen in the fields at nearly 10 villages. Agriculture department officials visited the villages to check the situation and asked the farmers to inspect their fields regularly and inform them if they suspect increase in the number of insects. “Our team found the presence of only 10-15 locusts per acre in these villages. Since there was no mass attack or arrival of locusts in the district, they won’t harm the crops,” said an officer.

In Fazilka district, chief agriculture officer Manjit Singh along with other officials visited the villages to check the situation. “The situation is not alarming. The number of locusts decreased in many villages on Saturday as compared to the previous day.

In Muktsar district insects in small numbers were reported in around 10 villages,” he said.

Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU Ekta-Ugrahan) Bathinda district president

Shingara Singh Mann said though crops did not suffer any damage, farmers are anxious as many have not witnessed the arrival of the insect.

Agriculture department director Sutantar Kumar Airi said there was no need to panic as locusts have not damaged the crop. “Locusts which originate in Afghanistan attack crops in swarms but in Punjab only a few have been spotted. The insects spotted in the state are affected by pesticides in other places and die soon after reaching here,” he said.

“We are keeping an eye on the situation and are prepared in case attack takes place on crops. We have identified boom sprayers to spray chemicals on a large scale. Chemicals required for this have also been arranged,” he added.

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