The Congress on Sunday demanded that the government should declare locust attacks a natural disaster and farmers be given compensation under the crop insurance scheme.
The demand came after swarms of crop-destroying locusts entered Gurgaon in Haryana, border areas of the national capital and over half a dozen districts in Uttar Pradesh, prompting state authorities to sound an alert. The Centre had said it has deputed more teams to assist in control operations.
Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala claimed that the farmers and the general public are being told to bang 'Taali and Thali (claps and plates)' when there is a locust attack.
"Sometimes the useless government prescribes 'taali-thaali' solution for the coronavirus pandemic, while at other times it prescribes it to deal with the locust attacks," Surjewala said in a statement.
"Is there no other scientific and rational solution left with the government?" he asked.
Locust swarms have attacked crops in Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and western Uttar Pradesh. Now these attacks have reached Delhi, he said.
Farmers from more than 84 districts of these states have been badly affected by the attack of locusts from Pakistan, Surjewala said.
"Today, more than 10 lakh hectare of farm land has been affected by locust swarms, but no relief has been provided to farmers," he said.
Rahul Gandhi had warned the government about the issue, but like on coronavirus, the government did not act, the Congress' chief spokesperson alleged.
Insurance companies are refusing to compensate the farmers for the losses suffered by the locusts under the crop insurance scheme because Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not include the locust swarm attack in the definition of "natural disaster", Surjewala said.
The Congress demands that compensation to farmers be paid under the crop insurance scheme by including locust attack in the definition of "natural disaster" by the Department of Agriculture and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Surjewala said.
A special relief package should be given to all farmers after special 'girdawari' (survey) of the destroyed crops, he said.
Surjewala said a scientific and rational solution must be found to the locust attacks happening since more than 75 days on agricultural lands, trees and plants.