BY PRAMOD KUMAR JHA
New Delhi, May 28 India is fully prepared to deal with the locust attack, and the next time, the migratory pest will be destroyed at the border itself, said Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Kailash Choudhary on Thursday.
In an exclusive interview with IANS, Choudhary said next time the locusts will be killed at the border areas of Rajasthan. The Centre has made strong arrangements for this.
The Barmer MP said, “The government of India has purchased 60 special spray machines from UK to to kill the locusts. Of these, 15 machines will reach India on June 11-12. More will arrive by June-end.”
“We are also planning to spray chemicals through drones and helicopters”, he said.
Choudhary said the Ministry had discussed with several companies how to control the locust menace. “We have enough stocks of the chemical required for spraying,” he said.
The locust is the oldest and dangerous migratory pest, which flies from East Africa and enters India via Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The pest is also termed as plague of plants and flies in a herd of millions and covers around 150-200 km a day.
The locust attack in the country has increased since last year when the “invasion” was controlled to a large extent. But this year, locusts have swarmed in much before the arrival of monsoon and reached the central parts of the country — Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Even Delhi is also under the threat of locust attack.
When asked why the locust attack was not blocked on the border at Rajasthan, the Minister said because the state government didn’t cooperate. He said, “The Central government gave an amount of Rs 14 crore to the Rajasthan government and provided necessary resources, but it didn’t use them on time.”
“The Union government is responsible for spraying chemicals in desert areas while the state government has to spray the chemical in agricultural land, but the Rajasthan government didn’t pay attention,” he added.
“This time the locusts have entered the border, but next time these will be blocked and destroyed at the border itself. The government has already made plans for it,” he added.