Centre asks states to streamline inter-state movement of personnel engaged in locust control
New Delhi, May 29: Amid threat of locust swarms travelling as far as Bihar, the Centre on Friday asked states to streamline inter-state movement of personnel engaged in controlling the spread of the crop-damaging migratory pests.
All states and union territories have also been issued an advisory along with standard operating procedures (SOPs) for handling the locust problem, the agriculture ministry said in a statement. Locust control measures that started since April 11 are underway in affected states in northern India.
In its May 27 letter written to all states, the Union Home Ministry has given "necessary instructions to streamline the inter-state movement facility for the personnel engaged in locust control works," the statement said. Under both State and National Disaster Response Fund, the Centre has included hiring of vehicles, machines and chemicals used in containment of locust control.
The quantum of assistance will be limited to the actual expenditure incurred on these items. However, expenditure should not exceed 25 per cent of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) allocation for the year, it added. Meanwhile, in a video conference with all state governments, Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Aggarwal updated them about the status of the locust problem and control measures being undertaken.
The states were also informed about the latest update of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which has said locusts could reach as far as Bihar and Odisha in the coming months. So far, locust control operations have been done in 377 spots covering 53,997 hectares in six states.
The control measures were undertaken in 15 locations in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh on Friday. These locations were in the districts of Jaipur, Dausa, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Barmer, Chittorgarh, Sri Ganganagar (Rajasthan) and Niwari and Shivpuri (Madhya Pradesh).
The Madhya Pradesh government also undertook control operations at five locations -- one each in districts of Satna, Balaghat, Niwari, Raisen and Shivpuri. "No crop loss is reported," the ministry added.