P Srinivasan I [email protected]
After a gap of 26 years, this year Rajasthan has witnessed severe locust infestation and expert blames it on the Climate Change. The locust attack is still on in some parts of the State.
Anil Sharma, former Plant Protection Officer, Government of India and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) trained Master Trainer for India said, “This time it rained well in African and Gulf countries due to which the locusts got conducive environment to breed. The temperature and moisture in soil were favourable and their number increased and with the wind they came from Africa to Middle East to Gulf to Iran to Pakistan and entered into India.”
He was speaking on Locust Invasion and Climate Change – A case study at the at the Anil Agarwal Dialogue 2020, Annual Media Conclave at Anil Agarwal Environment Training Institute, Nimli in Alwar.
Sharma said these locusts multiply in high rate, they have high migration power and eat everything it comes their way. In these years, the Thar Desert too witnessed climate change. This year there has been unusual rains desert areas. Generally, rains end by September-October, but this time it rained till November and provided favourable atmosphere to breed, whereas locusts leave by October.
The expert said that the locust attack in western Rajasthan started in May last year and it is still continuing in some parts of the State. He said during these years, Thar region of Rajasthan has witnessed increase in carbon dioxide emission, deforestation has taken place for making roads, new industries and lot of development activities are taking place thus deteriorating the environment.
He said, “Seasonal migration of Locusts may continue therefore the Government of India and State Government will have to remain alert all the time.”
Meanwhile, Rajasthan agriculture minister Lalchand Kataria in the State Assembly said that locusts have been destroyed in many parts of the affected districts, barring two-three villages in Sriganganagar district. He said that locusts entered into Rajsthan on May 21, 2019 in Jaisalmer district and spread into other districts. Minister said that locusts damaged the crops on more than 1.49 lakh hectares including more than 33,700 hectares (ha) in Barmer, more than 2,500 ha in Bikaner, more than 54,900 ha in Jaisalmer, 2,300 ha in Jodhpur and more than 53,600 ha in Jalore and destroyed crops of mustard, wheat, cumin, isabgol, cotton, castor etc.
Kataria said that Food and Agriculture Organisation submitting a report to the Government of India had praised the efforts done by the Rajasthan government for succeeding in controlling locusts in border districts only, which otherwise would have spread to other districts and caused heavy damages. In the report it was told that if Rajasthan government had failed in controlling locusts then it would have spread to other states and reached Bangladesh.