Locust attack: Arunachal forms panel to take preventive steps

Itanagar, Jun 3 (PTI) After locusts attacked crops in several states of the country, the Arunachal Pradesh government on Wednesday set up a committee to monitor the movement of the insects and take preventive measures, an official said here.

There is no report of crop damages by locusts in the Northeastern state as of now.

According to the reports, swarms of locusts have entered India from Pakistan and more such insects are expected to enter the country by next month, state Agriculture & Horticulture Secretary Bidol Tayeng said in a statement.

The insects 'have caused widespread fear amongst farmers in states like Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh,' Tayeng said.

He said a committee headed by the agriculture director was constituted to monitor the movement of locusts, take preventive steps, alert officers in districts when required and conduct awareness meetings, he said.

'The environment of the Northeastern states and Arunachal Pradesh may not be very conducive for the locusts to attack, but the departments of agriculture and horticulture are not taking any chances,' the officer said.

The departments have decided to monitor and remain fully prepared in the event of a locust invasion, he said.

Locust swarms are capable of destroying a thousand hectares of crops a day and may cause major agricultural famine situation.

The insects devour leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, barks and growing seeds, and also destroy plants by their sheer weight as they descend on them in massive numbers.

'The locusts moved from the Gulf desert via Yemen, Oman, Iran and Pakistan, before entering India,' Tayeng said, adding that with no crops in the fields now, they have invaded green spaces, including parks in Jaipur and orange orchards near Nagpur. PTI UPL NN NN