Locust attack: Centre carries out operation to prevent crop loss across states

New Delhi (NVI): The Centre has taken various steps to control locust swarms, and carried out operations in nearly 3 lakh hectares area since April 11 to prevent crop losses.

Starting from April 11 till July 12, control operations have been done in 1,60,658 hectares area in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana by Locust Circle Offices (LCOs), an official statement said.

The control operations have also been done in 1,36,781 hectares area in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Bihar by the state governments.

Elaborating on the actions, the release stated that on the intervening night of July 12-13, control operations were carried out at 26 places in 7 districts viz.Barmer, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Sriganganagar, Churu, Jhunjhunu and Alwar of Rajasthan, 1 place in Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh and at 2 places in Mahendragarh and Bhiwani districts of Haryana by LCOs.

“Presently, 60 control teams with spray vehicles are deputed /deployed in State of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and more than 200 Central Government personnel are engaged in locust control operations. In addition, 20 spray equipments have now been received,” the statement said.

To strengthen the control capacity, procurement of 55 additional vehicles has been done.

Further, five companies with 15 drones are deployed at Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Nagaur and Phalodi in Rajasthan for effective control of locusts on tall trees and in inaccessible areas through spraying of pesticides.

A Bell helicopter has been deployed in Rajasthan for use in Scheduled Desert Area as per the need. Indian Air Force also has conducted trials in anti-locust operation by using a Mi-17 helicopter.

“Swarms of immature pink locusts and adult yellow locusts are active in Barmer, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Churu, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, and Karauli of Rajasthan; Bhuj district of Gujarat and Auraiya and Etawah districts of Uttar Pradesh,” the statement said.

No significant crop losses have been reported in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Haryana. However, some minor crop losses have been reported in some districts of Rajasthan.

Reportedly, Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow witnessed huge locust swarms which descended on some parts of the city on Sunday. The migratory pests were first spotted in Ghantaghar area and were later seen flying in Daliganj, Nishatganj, Madiyaon and Vikas Nagar.

Earlier on Saturday, locusts from Hardoi district entered Sitapur and caused crop destruction in several areas including Machhehata, Misrikh, Khairabad, Biswan, Mahmudabad and Pisawan. The farmers tried to drive away the locusts by scaring them by banging utensils and producing sound from vehicles.