By B S Reporter
Locust Warning Organisation (LWO), Jodhpur has sounded alert for Locust attack in the areas bordering Pakistan. Dr Virendra Kumar, Assistant Director, LWO told BS that there is a risk of locust attack in Thar region.
“We have conducted survey to watch the activities of Locust during first two weeks of July month. We spotted activities of the pest in Suradhana area of Bikaner district. We suspect these activities to go up. We have sent an alert to all to keep a tight vigil,” he said.
He said that the department conducts locust survey twice a month in 10 districts bordering Pakistan. This includes few parts of Gujarat also.
“During the rains, swarms of locust come from Pakistan to Thar desert region. This year so far no such swarm is visible. But one can't rule out attack of locust. Input from the surveys that we have conducted is of little concern. Due to heavy rains in Thar region of Rajasthan, the moisture in soil has increased. There is greenery around which favours locust breeding. Conditions are becoming favourable for locust army,” Kumar said.
The LAO has conducted survey in 155 spots across 10 bordering districts including Barmer, Jaisalmer Phalodi, Bikaner, Nagaur, Jodhpur, Jalore in Rajasthan and Palanpur and Bhuj in Gujarat.
India suffered devastating Locust attack in 2020
In 2020, India suffered the worst ever locust attack over 27 years. It had affected more than one lakh hectare in 20 districts of Rajasthan, Haryana and Gujarat. Swarms of locust can travel up to 150 km a day with a speed of 15-20 km per hour and since there is no standing crop in the fields, they are targeting trees and other available vegetation, the official said.
He said the non-availability of standing crops is the reason behind their movement from Pakistan to India.
As per the Union Agriculture Ministry data, locusts damaged crops worth Rs 10 crore during the 1926-31 plague cycle. During the 1940-46 and 1949-55 locust plague cycles, the damage was estimated at Rs 2 crore per cycle, and at Rs 50 lakh during the last locust plague cycle (1959-62).
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