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Locust control eligible for SDRF and NDRF relief

The home ministry has included 'locust control activity' in the list of items eligible for State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) due to Covid-19, officials said in New Delhi on Friday.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jun 06, 2020, 08.30 AM IST
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New Delhi: The home ministry has included 'locust control activity' in the list of items eligible for State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) due to Covid-19, officials said in New Delhi on Friday. Swarms of locusts have invaded as many as 12 states and Union Territories, damaging crops worth several crores in Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

While citing its earlier order to declare Covid-19 pandemic as notified disaster, MHA said 'locust control activity' will be eligible for norms of assistance under SDRF and NDRF. This may include hiring of vehicles, tractors with spray equipment, chemicals for pest control, water tankers and purchase of plant protection chemicals for locust control, the order said. “The quantum of assistance will be limited to actual expenditure during a notified calamity. But it shall not exceed 25% SDRF allocation for the year.” With India struggling to deal with the pandemic, the locust attack could not have come at a worse time.

In Maharashtra, the state used drones to spray insecticides on the swarms. The pest is said to have destroyed many seasonal crops in Rajasthan and Punjab, an official said. Agriculture officers have been asked to share locust attack information with district magistrates and state governments and inform them about availability of insecticide and pesticide stock. SDRF is the primary fund available with states for responses to notified disasters. The Centre contributes 75% of SDRF allocation for general category states/UTs and 90% for special category states/UTs (NE states, Uttarakhand, Himachal and J&K).
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