Locust attack: NGT dismisses plea for implementation of Centre's contingency plan
At a time when India is battling the coronavirus pandemic, locusts present a new worry with their potential for exponential growth and crop destruction.
New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has junked a fresh plea seeking implementation of the Centre's contingency plan to combat the looming locust attack saying there was nothing to show that inadequate steps have been taken by the concerned authorities.
The green panel said the plea is the same as filed in June earlier and it has only added that representation of the applicant has been ignored.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said that a contingency plan already exists.
"It is in public domain that various steps have been taken. Some States have provided drones or helicopters and taken other steps. The applicant has not shown how these steps are inadequate. We find no reason to entertain the application without basis for intervention of this tribunal being shown," the bench said.
The NGT on June 1 had refused to entertain the plea filed by the NGO, Centre for Wildlife and Environmental Litigation Foundation and asked it to approach concerned authorities.
The tribunal in its order had said that there was nothing to show that no action is being taken by the concerned authorities in the matter.
According to the NGO, it filed representation but to no avail and filed a fresh application before the tribunal.
The plea filed by the NGO, through advocate Gaurav Bansal, had said that despite having the contingency plan, several states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are facing the locust swarm attack since February and the situation is getting worse in some of the areas.
The plea had said: "The worst affected are the farmers of the said area, thus the applicant NGO seeks urgent intervention of this tribunal and seeks direction to submit status report on the implementation of 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 contingency plan is a guidance document for Locust Field Offices, state governments and other stakeholders during the attack, said the plea filed by 'Centre For Wildlife And Environmental Litigation Foundation'.
According to the plea, the plan covers assistance required from different stakeholders, their contribution and role, activities, type of strategy to be adopted, formation of teams, available resources, shortfalls and ways and means of obtaining additional resources, and the deployment as also the actions that need to be taken.
The plan also provides for use of aircraft with spraying kits for a locust control purpose, it said.