Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 28
The change in wind direction spared Punjab a locust attack on early Thursday morning as the swarms changed their course and returned to Rajasthan.
On Wednesday evening, the Locust Warning Organisation informed the Agriculture Department that tropical grasshoppers were spotted near Sangriya (Rajasthan), only 50 km from the state border.
“On Thursday morning, the department received a message that the insects had started moving towards Punjab. An alert was sounded immediately to teams stationed at Fazilka and Muktsar districts. Later, we got another dispatch around noon that the locusts returned to Rajasthan because of change in wind direction,” Secretary (Agriculture) Kahan Singh Pannu told The Tribune.
The scare has been averted for now, but the Agriculture Department is not taking things lightly.
A department communication to DCs of Bathinda, Muktsar, Fazilka, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur districts on May 14 had said, “Adult groups and small swarms from breeding in Balochistan and Punjab in Pakistan will move to desert areas along the Indo-Pakistan border. This is expected to be supplemented by several waves of swarms coming from the spring-breeding areas during June.”
In another communication to the Chief Agriculture Officers on Wednesday, the department had said that “requisite pesticides have already been made available in the districts. Markfed has been given the order to manufacture and supply the pesticides. The buffer quantity has been kept at Bathinda, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Fazilka and Ferozepur for meeting emergency requirements, if any”.
Each district is required to constitute eight to ten teams. Each team will have 30 to 50 members. A mock drill will be carried out in all districts in two days.
Moga: The district has been put on alert in view of the apprehension of the locust attack from neighbouring Rajasthan. DC Sandeep Hans said, “Teams have been formed at block levels to spray insecticides. The Agriculture Department has arranged pumps and machinery for the purpose.”
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