February 19, 2020 | 1:33 PM IST
agriculture

After damaging crops in Raj, Guj, locust swarm enter Punjab; agriculture dept swings into action

After destroying the crops in Rajasthan and Gujarat, locusts entered Punjab, but the timely intervention of state agricultural department officials neutralized the effect and saved the crops from damage. The operation was carried out for nine hours in Baraka and Rupnagar villages of Fazilka district in a 3 km area. Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Border Security Force (BSF), fire department, police, civil administration, horticulture, and farmers jointly carried out the operation.
Swatanter Kumar, director, agriculture, Punjab, said, “The swarm sat on the trees. The spray work started at about 9.30 pm Sunday and continued till 2.30 am. The work again resumed from 6 am to 10 pm and all the locusts were killed.” They said that the swarm was killed and the situation was completely in control.
Chief agriculture officer, Fazilka said, “These pests rest on the trees at night and sit on the tender leafy cops in the morning damaging the crops.
Joint Director Gurwinder Singh said that about 400-500 tonnes of insecticides were used to eliminate locusts. The boomer and tractor-mounted high-velocity sprayers besides fire brigade vehicles were used to control the pests.
Also known as ‘tiddi dal’, these short-horned grasshoppers with highly migratory habits and voracious feeding behaviour have been emanating from Pakistan. They travel in large groups which are three to four-km-long and one-km-wide.

It may be noted that the Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to raise the issue with Pakistan. The CM had warned that any failure to control the pests could lead to serious implications for agriculture production especially in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Gujarat.

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