Centre needs to strengthen locust warning system: Rajasthan CM

Jaipur, May 22 (IANS) Locust attacks in Rajasthan have turned severe after three decades and hence there is a need to strengthen the Locust Warning Organisation, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said on Friday.

Addressing Agriculture Department officials, District Collectors and Locust Warning Organisation officials, over video conference, he said: “This time, the locust attack has been quite different as these locusts have moved from the border areas to Ajmer, Jaipur, Karauli, Tonk, Dausa, Sawai Madhopur and other districts.”

“We have to work new ways to control them,” he said, adding that the Prime Minister's attention was also drawn towards the issue during the video conference held with him recently. Since the Locust Warning Organisation comes under the Centre, the Central government should strengthen it and provide necessary resources, he added.

Gehlot further said that that due to the outbreak of locusts, farmers last year suffered a big loss. Locust invasion is expected to be more intense this year and in such situation, we will have to face this challenge with complete efficiency, he said.

State Agriculture Minister Lalchand Kataria said that on April 11, small groups of locusts reached Rajasthan after over from Pakistan. Around 50,000 hectare area has been affected by them. However, farmers have not suffered much loss as there are no standing crops in this season in western Rajasthan districts this time.

Revenue Minister Harish Chaudhary said that locusts' reproduction rate is quite high in African countries. A large number of locusts in big groups are expected to reach the state, he said.

Minister of State for Agriculture Bhajanlal Jatav said that for the first time, locusts has entered many districts of eastern Rajasthan.



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