NEW DELHI: The Parliamentary committee on agriculture will meet Tuesday to discuss the impact of locust attack in the country and do a stock taking on steps taken to deal with the problem. The meeting of the committee, first since the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic in March, will specifically look into the impact locust attacks have had on farming sector and the need for a national policy to deal with it.
The menace of locust attack has threatened to impact rural areas across several states of the country in the past four months and has led to a demand for a national policy to control it.
Parliamentarians are of the view that there should be greater scientific research on means to control the menace and also compensation for farmers if the crops get affected.
“This is not an issue that can be resolved at a state level. The Union government needs to do much more than what is being done currently and that requires an overall national policy on the issue," said a Parliamentarian who is part of the committee.
The trans-boundary locust swarms are currently threatening to impact kharif crop season in rural areas. The scale of the problem can be gauged from the fact that as of last week ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare have carried out locust control operations in more than 3.5 lakh hectares area spread across at least nine states including the more affected ones of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana as well as Uttar Pradesh, Maharasthra and Chhattisgarh.
The 30-member committee on agriculture will be given representations by officials from the department of agriculture on cooperation and farmers welfare detailing steps taken to control the spread of locusts in the country. The apex Locust Warning Organisation (LWO), headquartered in Faridabad, falls under this department and works for protection of standing crops and other green vegetation from the ravages of desert locusts.
“This is a very significant issue that threatens to impact not just the current harvest but also overall ecosystem. In that sense, it goes beyond just being a farmers’ issue. At the meeting, we are hopeful of discussing issues related to it, hear out what officials have to say and asses the current situation," a senior lawmaker who is part of the committee said, requesting anonymity.
Another lawmaker from the committee added the meeting will focus on laying bare the current situation and what action is being taken. “States like Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana are more affected compared to others. We are hopeful that Tuesday’s meeting will set course are needed in the near future to tackle this," the second lawmaker added.