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India - Locust threat not over yet, crop on 30-lakh acres hit in Rajasthan

After wreaking havoc on agricultural fields in Rajasthan, locusts may spread over to Punjab and Haryana that share boundary with Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh, warned experts.

Sriganganagar MP Nihal Chand said 12 Rajasthan districts were badly affected by locusts. He claimed that standing crops spread over 30 lakh acres were affected by the menace. He also said that farmers had suffered a loss of about Rs700 crore.

“The farmers in the border regions suffered heavy losses due to hailstorm and untimely rain when Kharif crop was at harvest stage and now locust swarms were damaging rabi crops. The state government has not effectively tried to tackle the problem that emerged as a disaster. Besides the state government, the Centre should also take necessary steps to tackle the menace, he demanded.

Punjab recently managed to avert a locust attack in several villages of Fazilka. A 3-km-long swarm of locusts had devoured mustard crops and settled on Sheesham and kikar trees. It took multiple government agencies and local villagers to fight the insects. Residents of Rupnagar and Baraka villages in the Khuian Sarwar block of Fazilka first saw the swarm and alerted the district administration.

The emergency response team of the Agriculture Department was rushed to the affected villages and operation to eliminate the swarm was launched. Hundreds of liters of insecticides were sprayed on the 450 affected trees through high-velocity sprayers.

Locusts were spotted in Sivana, Muradwala, Chananwala, Khanpur and Nejeke villages of Fazilka. The state has already sounded high alert along with villages bordering Rajasthan and Pakistan.

Earlier, PAUscientists had said weather was adverse for locusts and the insect would not be able to survive in intense cold. But the same cannot be said now with the state witnessing a rise in temperature.

Source – https://www.tribuneindia.com

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