On Monday, 1st June 2020, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) refused to entertain a plea seeking implementation of the Centre's Contingency Plan to combat the brewing locust attack, citing the reason that there seems nothing in the petition to show that no action is being taken by the concerned authorities in the given matter.
The petition was filed by an NGO, Centre for Wildlife and Environmental Litigation Foundation, through advocate Gaurav Bansal. It said that despite having the contingency plan of the Centre, states such as Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan are encountering the threatening locust attack since February. It also mentioned that the situation is getting worse in some areas.
It asked the authorities to spray insecticide, spread awareness among farmers, and not let the locust swarms rest during night times. The plea stated, " The worst affected are the farmers of the said area, thus The applicant NOG seeks urgent intervention of this tribunal and seeks direction to submit a status report on the implementation of the plan prepared by Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmer Welfare, Union of India."
The NGO has sought the constitution of committees to control the attack within their respective states. "Direct the Centre to evaluate the crop damage caused due to locust swarm attack and provide compensation to poor farmers affected by it", the bench, headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, said, while further adding, "The applicants acknowledge that there is a contingency plan. There is nothing to show that no action is being taken by the concerned authorities in the matter. On this matter, we do not find any ground to pass any order on an assumption that the authorities are not taking any action."
In addition to this, the tribunal granted liberty to the NGO to approach the concerned departments in case of a grievance. The plan comprises support and intervention from stakeholders, their contribution and responsibility, activities, type of strategy to be adopted, the formation of teams, available resources, ways and means of obtaining resources, and other actions that are needed to be taken. It also provides for spraying kits, for locust control, from aircrafts. It is the guiding document for state governments, Locust Field Offices, and other stakeholders during the attack.
Locusts are a species of short-horned grasshoppers in the family Acrididea that have a swarming phase. Usually, the insects are solitary, but under certain circumstances, they change their habits and behavior and become more abundant and gregarious. The desert locust is potentially the most dangerous of all the locust pests because of their ability to fly rapidly across great distances.
Further breeding of locusts must be stopped so that they are unable to affect the Kharif crops, a locust official said in Rajasthan. He added, "Given that the chances of locust proliferation are increasing in South Asia due to global warming and climate change, India must design appropriate strategies to combat the menace in the interest of food security."