Pak-India hold talks on locust control in Munnabao

A locust. (AFP file photo)

Three weeks after the UN sounded alarm on Locust outbreak in Rajasthan and called it “serious", the members of the Locust Control board from India and Pakistan met on Wednesday at the international India-Pakistan border in Munnaboa in Barmer.

According to the KL Gurjar, Deputy Director (PP), Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine & Storage four members from India and Pakistan met at the BSF conference call on Wednesday afternoon and discussed the way forward to the Locust Outbreak. "A team of four members headed by Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine from Pakistan and us met today and discussed the situation of breeding of the Locust". This was the last scheduled meeting between the two countries for the next six months. 

"Since May 26, when the first attack was reported from our land, so far we have controlled the Locust at 3 lakh hectares ( approx 150 km from the border) while Pakistan has controlled in 1 lakh hectares of land. We discussed the situation of locust at present and shifting of breeding towards other direction". Gurjar said that in the meeting, it was discussed that for the next six months the locust breeding will take place at the other end towards, Balochistan- Iran border, 

However, according to the farmers living at the border villages fear that the Locusts are still coming from Pakistan and will damage the winter crop. "I saw hundreds of new hoppers (early state of locust) arriving from across the border, in a few days they will become full-fledged Locust (tiddi). Post monsoon the Locust outbreak has already damaged our Kharif crop and now it will spoil the Rabi crop", 38-year-old Phool Singh, resident of Chadiyali village told DH. Singh also has written a letter to Barmer collector and mentioned his worry. A locust can cover up to 150 kilometers (93 miles) a day.

According to the Agriculture Ministry’s  Locust Warning Organisation (LWO), responsible for monitoring,  controlling the locust situation in a scheduled desert area (SDA), locusts arriving from Pakistan are spreading in villages in Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Barmer, Pokhran.  Kutch, Lakhpat, Bikaner and Shahgarh. The last major outbreak of locusts took place in Rajasthan in 1993 and since then in 2019 Locust outbreak once again damaged the crop in Rajasthan. 

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