Locust threat still looms over GB Nagar, district to remain on alert for July
Favourable wind direction prevented the locusts— who had come from Palwal, in Haryana—from entering the city on Sunday, officials said, adding that with the current environmental conditions– high moisture and incessant rains— another swarm may enter the region soon.Updated: Jun 29, 2020 10:38 IST
A day after Gautam Budh Nagar had a close shave from an attack of desert locusts, another swarm of the menacing crop-eating pests passed around the district on its way to Aligarh. While the locusts’ columns did not enter the city on Sunday, officials believe that the threat of an attack by the insects is not completely over and they will continue to stay alert at least for the entire month of July.
Favourable wind direction prevented the locusts— who had come from Palwal, in Haryana—from entering the city on Sunday, officials said, adding that with the current environmental conditions– high moisture and incessant rains— another swarm may enter the region soon.
“Favourable winds and timing saved the day for Noida on Saturday, and on Sunday another swarm was outside the city doors, but because of the winds, the locusts did not enter the city and rather flew around it on their way to Aligarh,” said AN Mishra, deputy director, department of agriculture, Gautam Budh Nagar. “Since this is the favourable season for the locusts, they might enter the city again. We are on alert and will stay cautious for the month of July at least. The villagers have been cautioned, and have also formed WhatsApp groups to keep them updated. ,” said Mishra.
He added that locusts attacks have been categorised as ‘disasters’ and thus, the losses incurred to the farmers, if any, would be liable for compensation. An invasion by locusts can flatten whole farms overnight. The country has been battling locusts invasion since they first entered parts of Rajasthan in April.
“Even though the chances are less, more locust swarms may come into the region. Local teams will thus have to stay on alert for at least a month or two. However, if Rajasthan sees good rainfall, there is also a chance that they may settle there as these pests seek green vegetation,” said KL Gujjar, deputy director, Locust Warning Organisation (LWO).
On Saturday, a large swarm of the locusts had entered the city during afternoon hours from Faridabad, flew over some of the district’s villages, made a pit stop at Muhamadour Jadaun village and later entered the Bulandshahr district.
“The swarm of locusts that left the city yesterday had settled in the Aligarh region. On Saturday it made a pit stop at Muhammadpur Jadaun village, but the teams and the villagers were already ready and they were shooed away by making loud noises. But if they settle during the night time, we would require insecticide to tackle them,” said Mishra.
The district administration had raised alarm on Saturday asking the district level locust control team— constituted in May as a precautionary measure following the outbreak in Rajasthan— to take adequate measures including using insecticides like malathion and chlorpyrifos on the pests.