Headlines May 29, 2020
Locusts attack spreads to more states
Since the past one week, hungry locusts have been attacking crops and fields in parts of North India, mainly Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Reportedly, herds of locusts have now entered Maharashtra too. A high alert has been issued in Punjab and authorities have asked farmers to take precautionary measures to control locusts. National capital Delhi has also been warned of possible locust attack. India is facing one of the worst locusts’ attacks of the last three decades.
Officials have been taking various measures to control the locusts attack. Rajasthan state agriculture has reportedly been using drones to clear locusts from crops in the state. Each drone can spray up to 10 liters of chemicals and also make a sound to disperse locusts.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar held meetings with state representatives and pesticide companies. He assured that speedy action will be taken to control the situation.
A small locust can cause a lot of damage to crops. In fact, it can eat as much as 25 camels a day! Locusts’ attacks are not new to farmers in India. But scientists point out that this year, the number of locusts are unusually high. Damage of lakhs of rupees have already been done. If timely intervention to control the locusts are not taken, Indian agriculture is going to face a huge setback especially with the Coronavirus crisis.
Reactions on social media
“Handling locust menace needs a coordinated effort from all the affected states & also with neighbouring nations. This can be an added calamity for the farming community already struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic”, tweeted Sadhguru.
“We should be prepared for the locust attack to save our crops. Drones can be conveniently usd to spray pesticides which are non-toxic to humans. If we do not stop the locust invasion right now, we will have pandemic-like situation similar to covid19”, tweeted Dr Pushparaja.
Some social media users even criticized the lack of safety precautions taken to protect animals and greens.
“DYK except few, most bird Population are on decline. Due to many anthropogenic reasons. We cage them & kill to extinction and then worry about locust attacks”, tweeted Indian Forest Service officer Parveen Kaswan.
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