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    Locusts enter Punjab farms, eliminated in 13-hour nightlong operation.

  • Date : 04 February, 2020

    BATHINDA: A swarm of locusts, measuring 3km in width and 1km in length, entered Punjab through Fazilka district on Sunday night, prompting the state government to carry out a nighlong, multi-department, 13-hour-long operation to control the pest.

    The insect had been ravaging fields in neighbouring Rajasthan and Pakistan. Though a few flying insects were being spotted across the region for many days, this was the first time that they entered Punjab in such a huge number. The swarm flew into Bakenwala and Roopnagar villages of Fazilka, which are situated near Rajasthan and Pakistan borders, following which worried farmers approached the state agriculture department.
     The dead insects on ground

    Top officials of the agriculture department on Monday claimed that the swarm could not cause any loss to crops and the threat had been neutralised. The agriculture department conducted the operation by involving officials from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Border Security Force (BSF), fire department, police, civil administration, horticulture and farmers. “About 400-500 tonnes of insecticides were used to eliminate locusts,” Punjab agriculture department director Sawtantar Kumar Airi said, adding that locusts came from the Pakistan side.

    Punjab additional chief secretary (agriculture) Viswajit Khanna said it was ensured that the whole swarm of locusts was eliminated. “Boomer sprayers, tractor-mounted high-velocity sprayers and a fire department vehicle were used to control the locusts. The operation was concluded with completely wiping out the locust swarm,” he said.

    Farmer Joginder Singh of Roopnagar said they first spotted a large number of locusts on trees at night. “Though several locusts have been killed, we are worried more swarms may enter our villages and damage crops,” he said.

    Punjab agriculture secretary Kahan Singh Pannu said the entire state machinery was put into motion after they came to know of the swarm of locusts entering Roopnagar. “When we got the information, we held a meeting with officials in Chandigarh about 9 pm and sounded a high alert. We deputed all officers concerned on emergency duty. The director and joint director of agriculture were immediately sent to Abohar. Fazilka deputy commissioner was alerted. He held a meeting of all district-level stakeholders at 11pm. The joint operation coordinated at state level started at 10pm on Sunday and continued till 9am on Monday,” he said.

    Even as officials said they were ready for any situations farmers continued to be worried. One of them, Mukhtiar Singh, said they were not in a position to bear damage to crops. “The state government must make arrangements to control the locusts,” he added.

    Source ( The Times Of India)


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