Agriculture departments are using drones to monitor the movement of the locusts at several places.(ANI Photo/Representative pic)
Agriculture departments are using drones to monitor the movement of the locusts at several places.(ANI Photo/Representative pic)

Double whammy for Covid gripped Maharashtra, now in throes of locust swarms

The locust swarms that entered Bhandara district were destroyed to a large extent by measures taken by the authorities.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Abhinav Sahay
UPDATED ON MAY 28, 2020 04:43 PM IST

While Maharashtra’s struggle to contain coronavirus continues, it has now got a fresh headache in the form of swarms of locusts that have entered the state and were reported to be moving towards Gondia district on Thursday after having attacked crops in neighbouring Bhandara. An alert has been sounded in the Gondia district, reported PTI and added that authorities have swung into action to deal with the approaching menace.

Locust swarms are currently also sweeping across several other Indian states in the western & northwestern part affecting Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, according to the agriculture ministry.

Authorities have confirmed that an agriculture team rushed to Bhandara in the early hours of Thursday to spray pesticides with the aid of two fire tenders in Temani village of the district after information on locusts reaching the areas was received. Pesticides were sprayed on crops and trees in one-km radius in the Bhandara village

“When the team reached the area in the early hours, pests were seen on mango, teak, moha, jambhul, ber and other trees. Pesticides were sprayed and by morning, a large number of the crop-eating pests fell from trees and died,” divisional joint director of agriculture Ravi Bhosle said.

He said that while the mango trees were the most affected, the pests ate leaves and left the fruits alone. He added that they couldn’t damage the paddy fields.

The official confirmed that the locust swarms were now heading eastwards with the wind towards Tiroda tehsil in neighbouring Gondia district.

The agriculture ministry had earlier released information that till May 26, an area of around 47,308-hectare at 303 places in Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh had been covered by control operations against locusts. It added that the Locust Circle Offices (LCO) are working in coordination with district administration and state agriculture departments.

Also Read: Centre steps in after locust attack spreads to 5 states, swarm splits into two: Latest updates

The ministry has also deployed 89 fire brigades for pesticide spray; 120 survey vehicles; 47 control vehicles with spray equipment and 810 tractor-mounted sprayers for the purpose of locust control as per the requirement.

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