Operations under way in Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana & Bihar
NEW DELHI, 17 July 2020: Till now, central government has deployed 79 locust control teams with spray equipment mounted vehicles that has so far covered 315,636 hectares area.
Starting from 11 April 2020 till 14 July 2020, control operations have been done in 1,68,315 hectares area in states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana by Locust Circle Offices (LCOs).
Till 14 July 2020, control operations have been done in 1,47,321 hectares area in states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Bihar by State Governments.
In the intervening night of 14-15 July, 2020, control operations were carried out at 27 places in Barmer, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Churu, Jhunjhunu and Sikar districts of Rajasthan, 1 place in Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh, 2 places in Kutch district of Gujarat.
Besides this, respective State Agriculture Department/s also carried out control operations at 2 place each in the districts of Balrampur and Bahraich in Uttar Pradesh and 1 place in Pali district of Rajasthan in the intervening night of 14-15 July 2020 against small groups and scattered population of locusts.
Presently, more than 200 Central Government personnel, 50 Technical officers and 22 drivers on contractual basis, are engaged in locust control operations. Also, 15 new Ulvamast sprayers have reached India from UK.
Further, 5 companies with 15 drones are deployed at Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Nagaur and Phalodi in Rajasthan for effective control of locusts on tall trees and in inaccessible areas through spraying of pesticides. A Bell helicopter has been deployed in Rajasthan for use in Scheduled Desert Area as per the need. Indian Air Force is also conducting trials in anti-locust operation by using a Mi-17 helicopter.
No significant crop losses have been reported in the States of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Haryana. However, some minor crop losses have been reported in some districts of Rajasthan.
As on 15 July 2020, swarms of immature pink locusts and adult yellow locusts are active in Barmer, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Churu, Jhunjhunu, Pali and Sikar of Rajasthan and Balrampur and Bahraich districts of Uttar Pradesh
Food and Agriculture Organization’s Locust Status Update of 13 July 2020 indicates that more swarms are likely to form in northern Somalia in coming weeks and that locust migration from northeast Somalia across the Indian Ocean to the summer breeding areas along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border could be imminent.
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.
Image credit: Indian Express