Ashok Gehlot draws PM’s attention to locust attack in Rajasthan

Seeks Centre’s assistance in dealing with the menace

Updated - May 12, 2020 02:00 am IST

Published - May 12, 2020 01:07 am IST - JAIPUR

Ashok Gehlot. File photo.

Ashok Gehlot. File photo.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday drew Prime Minister Narendra Modi ’s attention to the massive attack of locusts, starting from border with Pakistan, in several districts and sought the Centre’s assistance in dealing with the menace. The outbreak of desert locusts has posed a threat to the crops.

Also read:After COVID-19, India’s next challenge could be mega-sized locust attack this summer

Mr. Gehlot said at Mr. Modi's video conferencing with the Chief Ministers the attack which had started in the Thar desert in May 2019 had extensively damaged crops and vegetation in 12 districts. This year, the tropical grasshoppers have started attacking agricultural fields from April 11.

“The locusts have reached up to Ajmer in central Rajasthan,” Mr. Gehlot said, drawing the Prime Minister’s attention to a warning of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation that locusts were breeding in large numbers in Sudan and Eritrea on Africa’s Red Sea Coast as well as in Iran. The swarms of locusts are likely to damage crops in Rajasthan and Gujarat after crossing the border.

Earlier this year, the Sate government had sought an assistance of ₹200 crore from the Centre to compensate the farmers for their losses. A special crop assessment survey was also undertaken in some of the affected areas and ex -gratia assistance distributed to the farmers.

The grasshoppers emerged in January 2019 from eastern Africa and travelled through Saudi Arabia and Iran to enter Pakistan, where they invaded the cotton-producing belt of the Sindh province. The adult locusts then flew in to the Indian side of the Thar desert, damaging the crops in western Rajasthan and northern Gujarat.

The Union Agriculture Ministry’s Locust Warning Organisation (LWO), headquartered in Jodhpur, had launched efforts on a war-footing to control locusts. Teams carrying equipment were rushed to the villages to spray high-intensity malathion insecticide to prevent the spread of locusts to other areas.

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