Locusts Enter Haryana; Agriculture Minister Says "Necessary Action Taken"

JP Dalal said the locusts entered the districts on Saturday, with some settling in the fields during the night, adding officials swung into action and took necessary steps to ward off the threat

Locusts Enter Haryana; Agriculture Minister Says 'Necessary Action Taken'

A fortnight ago, a huge swarm of locusts had reached Rewari from Rajasthan. (Representational)

Chandigarh:

Swarms of locusts have reached Sirsa, Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri and Mahendragarh districts of Haryana, Agriculture Minister J P Dalal said on Sunday.

He said steps have been taken to curb the infestation and adjoining districts have been asked to remain alert.

The locusts entered Sirsa, Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri and Mahendragarh districts on Saturday, with some settling in the fields during the night, Mr Dalal said.

He said the agriculture department has deployed fire tenders and tractor-mounted spray guns to kill the insects.

"Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has directed deputy commissioners of these and adjoining districts to remain alert," Mr Dalal, who visited the affected areas in Charkhi Dadri, told reporters.

He said deputy commissioners (DCs) of the affected districts have been directed to send a preliminary report about the damage caused to crops by the insects.

After the reports are received, a special ''girdwari'' (revenue survey) will be ordered in areas where the loss is more, he added.

Dalal assured farmers that the government would take all necessary measures to control locust infestation in case the insects are spotted in any district and they will be compensated for their losses.

In many villages where locusts were spotted, the farmers beat ''thalis'' (plates) and other utensils to drive away the insects and protect their crops like cotton and bajra.

Dalal reached the Irrigation Department Rest House in Charkhi Dadri's Baund village this morning and was apprised by the DC about the locust attack in the district.

The minister directed the officers of the agriculture department to ensure insecticides are sprayed wherever locusts are spotted.

He also asked them to constitute a group consisting of four-five people each from 20-25 villages per district so that the administrations can be alerted about any locust infestation in time and necessary measures taken immediately.

He added that the state government is making all possible efforts to deal with locusts and there were reports of nearly 50 per cent swarms being eliminated in various districts by using chemical sprays.

Dalal also visited Sanwar village and the surrounding areas to take stock of the spraying of insecticides carried out last night.

He directed the agriculture department officers to spray insecticides during the day time as well and said there is a need to be vigilant as the season of monsoon is favourable for locusts.

He was told that the Charkhi Dadri district administration has a stock of about 1,700 litres of insecticide.

On Saturday night, Mr Dalal had visited his constituency Loharu in Bhiwani district to take stock of the situation and review the measures taken to prevent a locust attack.

A fortnight ago, a huge swarm of locusts had reached Rewari from neighbouring Rajasthan. While a part of the swarm settled overnight in the district, the remaining headed towards Gurgaon the next morning and eventually moved towards Uttar Pradesh.

Notably, Haryana had issued a high alert over a month ago after locust swarms attacked crops in Rajasthan and a few other states, but the insects had moved away from the state.

Locusts, popularly known as ''tiddi dal'', are short-horned grasshoppers with highly migratory habits and voracious feeding behaviour.

This insect can eat more than its body weight. A one square kilometer of locust swarm containing around 40 million locusts can in a day eat as much food as 35,000 people.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)