CHANDIGARH: The Punjab Government has issued an alert of a locust attack in all the districts bordering Rajasthan. As it is apprehended that the swarm of locust may come towards the state after they have devoured wheat crop over a large area in Rajasthan and Gujarat.
The swarm of locusts also known as 'tiddi dal' is a group of short-horned grasshoppers which multiplies during migration from long distances in destructive swarms and devours the vegetation wherever it settles. Thus the damage and loss caused by locusts is enormous. A small locust swarm can eat as much as ten elephants or 25 camels will eat in one day.
The state agriculture department has issued an alert in four districts of the state; Muktsar, Faridkot, Ferozepur and Fazilka districts bordering Rajasthan. The department has started an awareness drive among the farmers in this regard and also the department officials in besides these districts in Bathinda and Taran have also been put on alert as they have been told to closely monitor the situation. Also, a team of state government officials have visited Sriganganagar in Rajasthan which has been worst affected by this locust attack in order to study the pattern and effect of the attack on the standing crops and also to warn about any movement of the swarm of locust towards the state.
It is learnt that besides Rajasthan the officials are also in touch with their counterparts and farmers in Pakistan as groups of locusts are expected to arrive from across the border and move towards Ferozepur. But to their relief, it is expected that the locusts attack is concentrated in South-West Pakistan only.
Punjab Agriculture Secretary Kahan Singh Pannu said that as of now there is no attack in Punjab. The department has made elaborate arrangements to combat any exigency in this regard, as the adequate stock of pesticides and boomer sprays has been stored to deal with the pest attack and the farmers in districts bordering Rajasthan are being sensitised. "Also our officials are in tough with agri-experts of both Union and Rajasthan Governments,’’ he said.
A high alert has been issued by the agriculture department in Anandpur Sahib, Ropar and Hoshiarpur districts of the state bordering Himachal Pradesh in the wake of yellow rust attack that has spread here from the neighbouring state.