--BY MADAN LAMSAL
Where are the experts who had declared that locusts won’t enter Nepal? But again, you can’t really blame them for this. They thought the insects won’t enter Nepal after ‘tails’ came up when they tossed a coin! But the locusts came here without any pre-information. It’s all because the locusts don’t need a visa to enter the country!
But even people from the southern neighbour don’t need a visa to enter Nepal. Now what to do when the locusts are already here? Don’t worry, something will definitely happen. The agriculture minister has already started looking for American heavy metal songs which will chase the insects away. The only problem is the Council of Ministers has itself been ambushed. Let’s hope it won’t collapse immediately!
Perhaps even the experts have invited shamans to their homes who are beating drums to drive the locusts away. It is said the locusts cannot stand loud noise and fly away from such noises. This must be why everyone from the lower rung to the central committee of the ruling party is making a lot of noise. No surprises if they have even prepared a ‘kit’ to scare the locusts away, like the ‘corona removal kit’!
The provincial governments, too, have come up with bigger plans to control the locusts. They announced to buy locusts from the farmers at the rate of Rs 20 to 50 per kilogram! Now that rate has already reached Rs 100.
However, the farmers are a bit confused over whether to kill the locusts or take them to the government alive! These locusts are of various colours, shapes and sizes. They say the locusts currently on a Nepal visit are one of the world’s most dangerous migrant insects. They are fully enjoying their tour by visiting trees and crops at different places in the country. They can’t stay in one place. Otherwise, they could be finished off by spraying pesticides!
The swarms of migrant locusts have come to the country just recently. But there are already plenty of local locusts in the country. These local locusts are not on the trees but in all three tiers of the government, government offices, political parties’ offices, and each and every policies and programmes and projects of the government. They have been there for years now and you can’t even move them one bit!
The migrant locusts destroy the farmers’ fields, crops, fruits and trees. But the local locusts finish off the people’s and the government’s money. These more dangerous locusts are at every place of financial transactions and gobble up to 80-90 percent of the total budget. All the seven provinces and the 77 districts and even Singha Durbar are hit hard by these locusts.
You can’t see the local locusts. But they devour the budgets prepared at the central, provincial and local levels. In simple words, the local locusts will never spare an opportunity to eat the taxpayers’ money, no matter what happens later.
A migrant locust only eats tree leaves and crops equal to its own weight in one day. But the local locusts can swallow airplanes, bridges, roads and even the entire project. For example, it’s the local locusts which ate up the Arun III project in the past.
The local locusts ate up everything from wide-body aircraft to Melamchi drinking water project, Budhigandaki hydroelectricity project to Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track. There are ways to control the migrant locusts. But nobody has been successful in controlling the local locusts so far. Some people said the CIAA could control the local locusts and they even adopted ways to strengthen the CIAA. But eventually, the local locusts changed the CIAA into a species of their own!
People in some countries eat locusts, thinking they are nutritious and eating them is an effective way to control their numbers. But the local locusts are a different breed. There is seemingly no way to control them. Moreover, if they find out that you are trying to tame them, they will finish you off. Those who don’t spare even roads, bridges and airplanes will take no time to eat you alive and finish you off. But they don’t eat directly; those who are being eaten don’t even realise that they are being eaten. Such are the local locusts!
The migrant locusts are similar to grasshoppers. They move in swarms. The local locusts, too, move in swarms/gangs. But the local locusts are very wicked creatures; they are like slippery snails and slip out of your grip no matter how much you try to catch them. Even the CIAA and the courts can’t catch them. And when the people express anger over such helplessness, the local locusts know how to divert their minds – they would say the locusts from the south are attacking and everyone looks south and the local locusts continue ruling the roost. Truly speaking, a local locust is like the wicked fox which steals your chickens but puts the blame on the tiger!
The experts say the number of the migrant locusts won’t increase in Nepal. Because these locusts have to go back to the Indian state of Rajasthan to breed and grow in numbers. But Nepal has always been a fertile land for the local locusts.
When did the locusts enter Nepal? According to the Ministry of Livestock and Insects, they came to Nepal along with the westerly wind of democracy around 1990. But some people say that locusts were active in Nepal many decades ago. It was these locusts which were responsible for the Donkey Scam, Cow Scam, Carpet Scam, Snakeskin Scam etc in the past. Whatever, the swarm of such locusts was much smaller back then. But now, with the country becoming a federal democratic republic, their numbers have increased astronomically.
What is most worrisome is the fact that the locusts coming from outside either die or fly away when the weather is unfavourable but the wicked local locusts keep devouring the state coffers 24/7 throughout the year irrespective of good or bad weather and infightings within them. Can you suggest a way to finish off the more dangerous local locusts?