Other States

Central team assesses damage to crops in locust-hit Rajasthan

Members of the Central team inspecting damaged crops at a village in Jodhpur division on Wednesday.

Members of the Central team inspecting damaged crops at a village in Jodhpur division on Wednesday.  

Three-member panel interacted with a large number of farmers and asked about their efforts to deal with the situation

An Inter-Ministerial Central Team, visiting the locust-affected areas in Rajasthan, has taken stock of damage caused by insects to the crops in Jodhpur and Bikaner divisions and met the farmers, elected representatives and government officials after getting divided into three groups.

The team members inspected the damaged wheat, gram, castor, taramira, cumin and isabgol crops in Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jalore and Jodhpur districts on Tuesday and Wednesday. Crops in an area measuring 3.71 lakh hectares have been destroyed in the biggest-ever locust attack which started in the Thar desert in May 2019.

The tropical grasshoppers emerged in January 2019 from Sudan and Eritrea on Africa's Red Sea Coast and travelled through Saudi Arabia and Iran to enter Pakistan, where they invaded the cotton-producing belt of Sindh province. The swarms of locusts then entered the Thar desert, damaging the crops in western Rajasthan and northern Gujarat.

The Sate government has sought an assistance of ₹200 crore from the Centre to deal with the locust menace and compensate the farmers for their losses. A special crop assessment survey was earlier undertaken in some of the affected areas and ex-gratia assistance distributed to the farmers.

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

The Central team comprised Atish Chandra, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Agriculture; J.P. Singh from the Directorate of Plan Protection, Quarantine & Storage; Anil Dhillon from the Food Corporation of India; Manash Choudhary from NITI Ayog’s Agriculture Division and Dayanand Sawant from the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries.

Farmers’ demand

The team members interacted with a large number of farmers and asked about their efforts to deal with the locust attack. While analysing extensive damage caused to the rabi crops, the team took note of the farmers’ demand for enhancement of compensation in view of the cost of sowing of the crops having exceeded the relief amount offered by the government.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 2:13:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/central-team-assesses-damage-to-crops-in-locust-hit-rajasthan/article30864055.ece

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