ON TUESDAY, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told Parliament that since May 21, there has been an incursion of desert locusts in Rajasthan and Gujarat from areas bordering Pakistan. “Neither the desert locust control teams nor any state agriculture functionaries have reported any damage to the crops,” Tomar said (The Indian Express, July 10).
India has a Locust Control and Research scheme that is being implemented through the Locust Warning Organisation (LWO), established in 1939 and amalgamated in 1946 with the Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine and Storage (PPQS) of the Ministry of Agriculture, according to the PPQS. The LWO’s responsibility is monitoring and control of the locust situation in Scheduled Desert Areas mainly in Rajasthan and Gujarat, and partly in Punjab and Haryana.
The LWO publishes a fortnightly bulletin on the locust situation. The latest bulletin on the PPQS website, for the second fortnight of June, said control operations had covered 5,551 hectares by June 30. By July 3, this had risen to 8,051 hectares, according to the minister’s written reply in Parliament.