Desert locusts rampage across Maha, UP, Rajasthan

Desert locusts enter Vidarbha region in Maharashtra; rampage across multiple states

Swarms of locust in the walled city of Jaipur. PTI

A swarm of desert locusts has entered the eastern part of Maharashtra where district and agriculture department personnel have initiated chemical spraying on crops and vegetation to save them from the migratory pests, officials said. Earlier, locust attacks were reported from neighbouring Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, and the pests had also made their way into Rajasthan.

Primary reports indicated that in the last couple of days, four to five villages in the Vidarbha region have come under attack from the locusts, known for feasting on all sorts of plants and standing crops.

Joint Director of Agriculture Ravindra Bhosale told PTI, "The swarm of desert locusts entered the state from Amravati district. It then went to Wardha and now it is in Nagpur's Katol tehsil."

A team from the regional centre of the Central Integrated Pest Management Centre has started spraying chemicals on crops and plants near the Jalalkheda bypass where the insects have been located, he said.

"Central agencies in this field had alerted us about the locusts' attack and necessary information had been passed on to villagers as well," Bhosale said, adding that "locusts are very dangerous to all types of vegetation. They feed on green leaves and are known for devouring crops spread across on acres of land".

Jaipur's residential areas face locust threat

Swarms of locusts entered some residential areas of the city on Monday, presenting the local people with an unusual sight.

Locusts normally affect districts in western Rajasthan but this time the swarms have travelled as far as the Jaipur city.

In Jaipur’s Murlipura and Vidhyadhar Nagar areas, people were seen beating 'thalis’ at the locusts that had settled on walls and trees, hoping to make them move on.

“The menace of locust has spread to 18 districts of Rajasthan and they are rapidly travelling in search of food,” Om Prakash, the commissioner of the state agriculture department, told PTI.

Jhansi fire brigade asked to be ready with chemicals

The Jhansi district administration directed fire brigade to keep its vehicles ready with chemicals following the movement of a swarm of locusts.

District Magistrate Andra Vamsi, who chaired a meeting in this regard said, "The villagers along with the common public has been told to inform control room about the movement. The locusts will go places where there is green grass or greenery. Hence, details about the movement at such places must be shared."

Deputy Director Agriculture Kamal Katiyar said, "The swarm of locusts, which is moving is small in size. We have got the news that nearly 2.5 to 3-kilometre long swarm of locusts has entered the country. A team has come from Kota (Rajasthan) to tackle the locusts."

India proposes to Pakistan, Iran for coordinated response to contain desert locusts

Meanwhile, struggling with the locust threat, India proposed to Pakistan and Iran for a coordinated approach in dealing with the desert locusts in the region.

Sources said India has proposed to Pakistan as well as to Iran for a coordinated response to deal with desert locust. However, Pakistan is yet to respond to India's proposal while Iran communicated its readiness for a joint approach to contain the desert locusts.

India has suggested to Pakistan that both countries coordinate locust control operation along the border and even offered to supply pesticides.

The institutionalised mechanism of locust warning organisation could be energised for such cooperation, sources said sharing details of the Indian proposal.

They said India has also offered to supply pesticide to Iran to contain the spread of desert locusts in its Sistan-Balochistan and South Khorasan provinces. These efforts will contribute to mitigate the effect of the desert locust not only in these countries but also for India, the sources said.

India has an existing institutionalised mechanism with Pakistan for cooperation in containing desert locusts including border meetings between the officers of the two countries.

(With inputs from PTI)

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox