Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 22
While India awaits a response from Pakistan to its proposal of “coordinated response to control desert locust”, the migratory pest has entered Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, threatening major damage to standing cotton crop and vegetable.
“Rajasthan is the most affected. This year, the swarm has entered India earlier than their normal time of June-July,” said a spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare.
Amid a general “consensus” about locust posing a grave challenge in the South Asia and South West Asia region in 2020, sources said India had proposed a coordinated response to Iran and Pakistan to further regional cooperation and mitigate their effect in the three countries.
“Iran has already responded positively to the Indian offer. It remains to be seen if Pakistan will rise above its narrow-minded approach, as was seen in the case of India’s regional initiative for dealing with Covid and come forward with cooperation on coordinated desert locust control operation with India,” they said.
In India, more adult groups and small swarms have arrived from Pakistan in past weeks and reached Jodhpur.
“Along with energising existing institutionalised mechanism of Locust Warning Organisation, India offered to supply pesticide to Iran to carry out control operations in its Sistan-Balochistan and South Khorasan provinces. To Pakistan we suggested both countries coordinate locust control operation along the border and also offered to facilitate the supply of pesticide malathion,” they added.
Staff at grocery stores to be checked too