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Lobster attack: lobsters enter Punjab farms, eliminated in a 13-hour night operation | Amritsar News

BATHINDA: A locust swarm, which is 3 km wide and 1 km long, entered Punjab through the Fazilka district on Sunday night, prompting the state government to carry out a 13-hour operation of duration, of several departments, to control the plague.

The insect had been ravaging fields in neighboring Rajasthan and Pakistan. Although some flying insects were detected throughout the region for many days, this was the first time they entered Punjab in such a large number. The swarm flew to the Bakenwala and Roopnagar villages of Fazilka, which are located near the borders of Rajasthan and Pakistan, after which the concerned farmers approached the state’s agriculture department.

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Dead insects on the ground

Senior officials in the agriculture department said Monday that the swarm could not cause any crop loss and that the threat had been neutralized. The agriculture department carried out the operation involving officials from the Agricultural University of Punjab (PAU), the Border Security Force (BSF), the fire department, the police, the civil administration, horticulture and farmers. “About 400-500 tons of insecticides were used to eliminate lobsters,” said the head of the Punjab Department of Agriculture, Sawtantar Kumar Airi, adding that the lobsters came from the side of Pakistan.

The additional chief secretary of Punjab (agriculture), Viswajit Khanna, said he made sure that the entire locust swarm was eliminated. “Boomer sprayers, tractor-mounted high-speed sprayers and a fire department vehicle were used to control lobsters. The operation concluded with the total elimination of the locust swarm, ”he said.

Farmer Joginder Singh of Roopnagar said they first saw a large number of lobsters in the trees at night. “Although several lobsters have been killed, we are concerned that more swarms will enter our villages and damage crops,” he said.

Punjab’s secretary of agriculture, Kahan Singh Pannu, said all state machinery was put into motion after they learned of the locust swarm entering Roopnagar. “When we obtained the information, we held a meeting with the officials in Chandigarh at around 9 pm and we sounded on high alert. We owe all officers involved in emergency service. The director and the joint director of agriculture were immediately sent to Abohar. The deputy commissioner of Fazilka was alerted. He held a meeting of all stakeholders at the district level at 11pm. The joint operation coordinated at the state level began at 10 pm on Sunday and continued until 9 am on Monday, ”he said.

Even when officials said they were ready for any situation, the farmers remained worried. One of them, Mukhtiar Singh, said they were unable to withstand crop damage. “The state government must make arrangements to control the lobsters.”

Times of India

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