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INDIA IS COMBATING WITH LOCUST SWARMS AMID COVID19

Before the inception of 2020 could anybody imagine that the year will grow worse day by day?

The whole world has been put up the shutters due to coronavirus pandemic. The financial system has been crippled for no fixed time. Cyclone named Amphan already tore the major portion of the West Bengal. Amid all these tragedies, the emergence of locust swarms from India- Pakistan border is a new addition to make 2020 a bit more challenging.

Locust is an insect that destroys crops and foliage even within hours and leaving in its wake a trail of devastation and misery.

After three decades locust swarms reappeared which became a great threat to farmers in North India mainly. Rajasthan has drastically been affected by desert locusts. Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh were also affected badly by the same. The experts believe that these desert locusts would not only hurt farmlands and crops in North India but also Delhi could lose a lot of greenery if they would not control the pests.

 Till now more than 1,40,000 acres of cotton, summer pulses, vegetable crops have been totally destroyed by the locusts. This attack already affected 90,000 hectares across 20 districts in Rajasthan. Locust are moving towards the wind and scattering everywhere in the sky of the Pink city. Nothing can be heard except the humming of locusts.

“No significant crop losses have been reported in Haryana, Gujarat, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Uttar Pradesh. However, some minor crop losses have been reported in some districts of Rajasthan,” the ministry said.

Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has warned amid the countries facing the worst locust attack in last 26 years. These swarms will return to Rajasthan to join other new swarms still coming from Pakistan and Iran, which is expected to be supplemented by the swarms from Africa in about mid-July, FAO said.

The government has been active enough to control the detrimental rush. 60 control teams with spray vehicles are distributed in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. Over 200 central government personnel are working to manage the operation. The pesticide campaign has been arranged by the government. Farmers who depend on year-round yields from the green field are using smoke and producing noise to prevent locusts attack.

India is the first country which is using drones for pest management, the ministry claimed. 15 virtual meetings have already taken place on desert locust of South West Asian countries like Iran, India, Pakistan.

 It can be assumed that it may take days for everything to get back to normal. But the question is how and when? When will India walk under the blue sky again? When will the people be able to roam around like before? The entire world is looking forward to that good time.

                                                                                          Saswati Chattopadhyay

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