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Officials on tenterhooks as locusts reach Nagaur, Jodhpur

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The Times Of India
18th October, 2019 04:06 IST

Jodhpur/Ajmer: Despite all efforts by the locust control department, locusts continue to devour fields after fields and advance further in the state. The swarms of locusts have dealt a severe damage to the crops up to the villages very close to Jodhpur. Moreover, the northern part of Nagaur district is in the grip of locust attack and the agriculture department on Thursday remained on its toes to save the crops that are ready to be harvested.

Sources said that a team of 15 officials and scientists of state agriculture department were on the fields in Nagaur to tackle the menace on Thursday. The large group of grasshopper-headed locusts, generally known as desert locusts, is known to have come from Pakistan. The pests had earlier infested the crops in Bikaner, before heading towards Nagaur district.

Deputy director, agriculture, of Nagaur district, Harjiram Choudhary said that there is no report of a big loss of crops at present, as two swarms have been identified in the region but they are injured.

A large group of locusts were seen near Uutawalia village.

In Bikaner, measures were taken to control them using pesticides. The swarm was rendered weak after the measures and turned towards Nagaur district. The areas facing immediate threat from the pest include Mundasar, Sewari, Subashpura, Uutawaliya and nearby regions.

Meanwhile, the leaders of agriculture organisations have called upon the government to consider the attack by locusts a natural calamity and to take steps accordingly. “We have also demanded from the district magistrate to begin an aerial spray of pesticide,” said an office bearer of Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), Naresh Vyas.

Besides the efforts of the officials from agricultural department and locus control department, farmers have also resorted to traditional methods of driving away the locusts through sound. “They have been using DJ systems playing songs in loud volume and are also playing drums and thaalis (plates) to generate loud sounds to drive the locusts away from their fields,” said an official.

Deputy director of the Locus Warning Organisation K L Gurjar said that their teams have been working in the fields round the clock and have succeeded in stopping the pests’ forward movement beyond western Rajasthan.

But according to an office bearer of the BKS, Tulcharam Sivar, these swarms have reached up to Balesar in Jodhpur through Jaisalmer and up to Nagaur through Sri Ganganagar and Hanumangarh.

He said that these swarms have laid their eggs in large numbers, which will be hatched in next few days. “This poses a danger to the upcoming Rabi crop,” said Sivar.

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