Drums, drones and DJ! Desperate measures across India to tackle the locust challenge
As swarms of locusts threaten vast expanse of agricultural land in the country, different strategies are been tried to fight off the insects.
While in Pink City, Jaipur, officials resorted to drones to get rid of the locusts, farmers in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi thought blasting off tunes through a DJ band could deter the insects in their resolve to destroy acres of farms.
For the second time in a week, a drone was used to kill locusts in Jaipur’s Viratnagar on Saturday night and Sunday morning. The hilly area was inaccessible to tractor-mounted sprayers and a result the administration had to resort to drones to spray pesticides on locust swarms.
“We got information about a 3km-by-1km swarm in three villages of Viratnagar on Saturday. We surveyed the area and found the pest present on 230 hectares but the area was difficult to access so we decided to use drone,” said BR Kadwa, deputy director of Jaipur’s agriculture department in Jaipur.
The Uttar Pradesh government has put nearly 10 districts on alert in the wake of the locust attack. Jhansi is one of the most prominently affected areas in the country.
Determined to battle the crop-munching insects, farmers in Jhansi were seen playing loud music with the help of a ‘DJ vehicle’ used in marriage processions. A video was of the incident was posted by a police officer in Jhansi earlier this week.
“DJ is not only effective during parties but for fighting off locusts as well. Days change everyone! You can make a noise or even beat the plate,” police officer Rahul Srivastav tweeted along with a short clip of the video.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh suggested something similar as asked people to burst firecrackers and beat drums to prevent attacks by locust swarms.
“Whenever locust swarms attack, villagers should be alert. Locust attacks can be avoided by bursting firecrackers, the smoke of burning tires or if drums are played,” the minister told farmers while visiting his constituency Katol in Maharashtra.
Besides Jhansi, Rajasthan’s Dausa and Chattarpur district of Madhya Pradesh are among the major regions in the country that have seen swarms of locusts attack.
Locust swarms entered western India from Pakistan affecting states like Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. The crop munching insects can cause major damage to standing cotton crops and vegetables, posing a threat to food supply and livelihoods.