‘Rajasthan facing locust attack from new swarms’, say authorities
Rajasthan is facing an attack from fresh swarms of locusts, the state agriculture department has said.
“Locust attack has been going on since one-and-half-months. Rajasthan is one of the most affected states as some districts - Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Barmer, Ganganagar - share border with Pakistan from where locusts are entering other districts,” BR Kadwa, deputy director of Rajasthan agriculture department, was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.
“Operations are on to control them. Issue is, we had killed older swarms but new swarms are coming now. Government of India has said that Navy helicopter will also be used to control it,” he added.
Locusts have made border areas near Pakistan their breeding centres from where they’re coming here, said Kadwa.
The onset of monsoon in Rajasthan is likely to occur on June 24 or 25 and authorities at Jodhpur-based Locust Warning Organisation (LWO) are preparing to control the population of locusts that are hovering in the desert areas between India and neighbouring Pakistan and also possible local breeding of these insects.
Aerial spraying of insecticides is being done by drones in Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Nagore and Jodhpur districts for locust control, Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare had said on Tuesday.
“Under Make in India initiative in locust control, trials of prototype vehicle mounted ULV sprayer has been successfully conducted in Ajmer and Bikaner; approvals required for commercial launch are underway,” the ministry said.
United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization has appreciated that India is the first country in the world which is controlling Desert Locust through Drones, it added.
Emphasising the need of exploring aerial spray for locust control, the ministry said that the ground control vehicles with sprayers used for locust control can spray up to a height of 25-30 feet only. The tractor mounted sprayers also have a limitation in reaching inaccessible areas and tall trees.
Locust is a crop-threatening migratory pest that has entered the country through the India-Pakistan border.