Centre to deploy choppers to tackle locust swarms

Active locust swarms in 11 districts, Centre to deploy choppers to spray pesticides

June-July marks the breeding season for the desert locust which have swarmed the four states, threatening the vegetables and fruits planted by farmers. (Credit: PTI Photo)
Active swarms of locusts were present in 11 districts spread across Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, prompting the government to step up control operations by deploying helicopters for aerial spraying of pesticides.
 
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who reviewed the locust control operations, said the last swarm of the pest entered from Pakistan into India at Sri Ganganagar district of Rajasthan on Tuesday and there was no information of fresh incursions after that.
 
He said the Locust Warning Organisation has engaged two firms for spraying pesticides through drones in inaccessible areas and efforts were on to deploy helicopters to control the swarms effectively.
 
The fast approaching monsoon season has also forced the government to put the control measures on a fast track as moisture in the soil would aid the pests in breeding.
 
“As on date, there are some active swarms of immature locusts in Barmer, Jodhpur, Nagaur, Bikaner, Suratgarh, Dausa districts of Rajasthan, Jhansi district of Uttar Pradesh and Rewa, Morena, Betul, Khandwa districts of Madhya Pradesh and Nagpur and Amravati districts of Maharashtra for which the control operations are in progress,” an Agriculture Ministry statement said.
 
June-July marks the breeding season for the desert locust which have swarmed the four states, threatening the vegetables and fruits planted by farmers.
 
Stepping up efforts to control locust swarms, the Centre has placed orders for sprayers with British firms an the delivery of first set of 15 sprayers was expected within a fortnight.
 
“Besides, 45 more sprayers will be procured in a month or one-and-a-half months,” Tomar said.
 
He said 11 Regional Control Rooms have been established and special contingents have been deployed along with additional manpower to check the spread of locusts. 
 
He assured the affected States will be allocated additional resources and financial aid if required.

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