Swarms of locusts entered Sirsa, Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri and Mahendragarh districts of Haryana, Agriculture Minister J P Dalal said on Sunday.
He said the locusts entered the districts on Saturday, with some settling in the fields during the night, adding officials swung into action and took necessary steps to ward off the threat posed by the short-horned grasshoppers.
The minister said the agriculture department deployed fire tenders filled with chemicals and tractor-mounted spray guns to kill the insects.
“Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has directed deputy commissioners of these and adjoining districts to remain alert,” Dalal said.
He said deputy commissioners (DCs) have been directed to send a preliminary report about any loss to crops suffered by farmers after which a ‘special girdwari’ (revenue survey) will be ordered.
He said since there had been such locust attacks recently, the farmers too had been asked to remain vigilant.
Dalal assured the farmers that the government would take all necessary measures if locusts are spotted in any district of the state and compensate the peasants in case of any loss to crops caused by the insects.
Meanwhile, in many villages where locusts were spotted, the farmers beat ‘thalis’ (plates) and other utensils in a bid to ward off the insects to protect their crops like cotton and bajra.
A fortnight ago, a huge swarm of locusts had reached Rewari from Rajasthan, with parts of it settling overnight in the district and the remaining headed towards Gurgaon the next morning and even covered the skyline of the millennium city for a while before moving away towards Uttar Pradesh.
Notably, Haryana had issued a high alert over a month ago after locust swarms attacked crops in neighbouring Rajasthan and a few other states, but the insects moved away from the state.
Locusts, popularly known as ‘tiddi dal’, are short-horned grasshoppers with highly migratory habits and voracious feeding behaviour.