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May 2020
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News Headlines
As Lockdown-4 ends, home ministry issues guidelines for ''Unlock-1'' from June 8        COVID-19 tally in Kerala rises to 1,208, 7 Pilots and cabin crew, among 58 infected        Locusts in TN local grasshopper species, pose no threat, says govt        Delhi-Moscow AI flight returns midway after pilot found COVID-19 positive        People suffered most, faced unbearable hardships under Modi rule: Gehlot        Protests over George Floyd death overwhelm US authorities again        ''very saddened'' by what happened to the relationship with China: Trump        Federer tops world''s highest-earning athletes        Kerala reports 1 death, 62 new COVID cases, 10 recoveries, 577 patients under treatment: CM        France reports 52 new Coronavirus deaths        Death toll from COVID-19 in Brazil rises by 1,124 to 27,878 People        Death toll from COVID-19 in Brazil rises by 1,124 to 27,878 People        CA says "very high risk" of T20 WC being postponed, bracing up for losses        Sonia launches speak up campaign to help raise voice of poor        No fare either by train or bus shall be charged from any migrant worker:SC; Centre says 91 lakh migrants ferried by trains, buses        Saudi Arabia registers 1,644 new COVID-19 cases        Coronavirus deaths in US top 100,000; Trump sympathises with families of the victims        ICC defers fate of T20 World Cup till June 10 over confidentiality issue        'Preparations are ongoing for the event': ICC denies report of postponing T20 World Cup        Patanjali''s plea for Ayurvedic medicine trials raises eyebrows        
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National News
Locusts in TN local grasshopper species, pose no threat, says govt
 
Chennai: As swarms of a locust species attacked banana, rubber and other crops in some districts of Tamil Nadu causing concern among farmers, the state government on Saturday said these were native grasshoppers and not the desert locusts now on the rampage mostly in the western parts of the country. It advised the farmers to use bio insecticide like neemseed oil to protect agriculture and horticulture crops. Swarms of locust species attacked banana, rubber and other crops in parts of plantation dominated districts such as Nilgiris, causing concern among farmers over possible destruction of their crops. Chief Minister K Palaniswami, who chaired a high-level meeting with his deputy O Panneerselvam, Agriculture Minister R Doraikkannu and senior officials, said the chances for the desert locust to penetrate into Tamil Nadu was remote.

Even the Central government''s Locust Warning Organisation has expressed such a view. "However, if the farmers spot a swarm of locusts, they should immediately inform the agriculture officials for taking appropriate action," the chief minister was quoted as saying in a release. He directed authorities to form committees under district collectors concerned to maintain a vigil and also to take appropriate remedial measures. An expert committee from the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University undertook an inspection in Nilgiris and Krishnagiri districts and found that the species which affected the crops in the districts in the Western Ghats region were local grasshoppers. "There are nearly 250 species of grasshoppers in Tamil Nadu and they don''t pose any major threat to the crops," Palaniswami said.

Tamil Nadu, he said, was not a breeding ground for the desert locust. However, taking into account the seriousness of the issue, the collectors of Theni, Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Erode, Thirupattur, Nilgiris, Kanyakumari and Tenkasi, most of which bordering neighbouring states, have been directed to maintain a vigil and take appropriate preventive measures, he added. He chaired the meeting in the wake of apprehensions among farmers following damage caused to their crops, mainly in Kanyakumari. Farmers in Poovankodu and Viyanur in Kanyakumari district bordering Kerala have claimed that the locust had affected the banana and rubber crops. Earlier, a farmer in Khandal near Udhagamandalam who noticed the swarm managed to capture a few of the species and informed the Nilgiris district administration. Nilgiris Collector Innocent Divya, who verified with experts, assured the farmers that the species was not desert locust.

Since the last few days, spotted coffee grasshopper, Bombay locust and the Crytacanthacris Tartarica, a type of grasshopper, were mistaken for the swarm of desert locust, ravaging the crops in north-west regions of the country. According to a member of the Grasshopper Specialist Group of the Species Survival Commission of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, none of the three species noticed in the Nilgiris and in the vicinity pose any immediate conern. DMK President M K Stalin urged the government to act on the matter immediately. "Instead of continuing to be apathetic, as it had been in managing the coronavirus spread, the state government should immediately launch steps to protect the crops," he said in a statement here.

His party legislator from Kanyakumari district T Manothangaraj urged the authorities to save the crops without resorting to the use of chemicals. Several areas of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have been witnessing worst invasion of locusts in years.


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