07 July 2020, New Delhi: State governments and Locust Circle offices have cumulatively covered 2.75 lakh hectares under Locust Control Operations. Swarms of immature pink locusts and adult yellow locusts are active in Barmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Nagaur, Ajmer, Sikar and Jaipur districts of Rajasthan State; Jhansi district of Uttar Pradesh and in Tikamgarh districts of Madhya Pradesh.
Aerial spraying capacity has been strengthened for anti-locust operations. 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 an Mi-17 helicopter. IAF started participating in anti-locust operations from 5th July by deploying the Mi-17 helicopter for aerial spraying in Jodhpur district.
Further adding the resources, 5 companies with 15 drones have been deployed at Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Nagaur and Phalodi in Rajasthan. This is done for effective control of locusts on tall trees and in inaccessible areas through spraying of pesticides.
Presently 60 control teams with spray vehicles are deputed /deployed in State of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. More than 200 Central Government personnel are engaged in locust control operations. In addition, 20 spray equipments have reached India.
No significant crop losses have been reported in the States of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh, Bihar and Haryana. However, some minor crop losses have been reported in some districts of Rajasthan
FAO warns of Locust attack till mid-July
As per the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Locust Status Update, many of the spring-bred swarms that migrated to Indo-Pak border before the monsoon rains, some continued east to northern states of India and a few groups reached Nepal. The forecast is that these swarms will return to Rajasthan with the start of the monsoon in the coming days to join other swarms still arriving from Iran and Pakistan, which is expected to be supplemented by swarms from the Horn of Africa in about mid-July.
Early breeding has already occurred along the Indo-Pak border where substantial hatching and band formation will take place in July that will cause the first-generation summer swarms to form in mid-August.