Agri Business

Delhi government issues advisory as locust swarm reaches Gurugram

?OUR BUREAU New Delhi | Updated on June 27, 2020

More locust control teams from Rajasthan have moved to these states to control them effectively

The Delhi government, on Saturday, advised residents to keep windows and doors closed and cover outdoor plants with plastic sheets to avoid an attack by locusts, the migratory pests which were spotted in Gurugram this morning.

'Remain on high alert'

In an advisory issued after an emergency meeting convened by Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai, the government asked District Magistrates to remain on high alert coordinate with district fire departments for spraying pesticides if locusts are spotted in their areas. 

It also asked the citizens to make high decibel sounds through beating of drums, utensils or playing music on high volume to distract the pests. This is something that most locust warning organisations dissuade from people doing, as this scatters the locusts, making control operations difficult.

Moving towards Uttar Pradesh

Earlier in a statement Union Ministry of Agriculture said that the locusts which appeared in Gurugram, Dwarka, Palwal in Haryana were leftover swarms which escaped control operations in Rewari, Haryana and these swarms regrouped, and three smaller swarms are moving towards different parts of Uttar Pradesh. 

According to the statement, locust swarm was first noticed in Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan on Friday morning and reached Rewari by evening. While they were there, Locust Warning Organisation (LWO) officials, along with their counterparts from the State, undertook control operations till early Saturday morning.

However, not all the pests were not destroyed by the operations, leading to some of them regrouping into three splinter groups. 

While one swarmlet moved towards Gurugram and from there via Faridabad to neighbouring areas of Uttar Pradesh. The second splinter group of locusts, though spotted briefly in Dwarka, moved towards Daulatabad, Faridabad and to UP districts. The third moved towards Palwal and headed further towards UP, the statement said. 

The Ministry said State agricultural departments in Rajasthan, Haryana and UP and local administration officials together with LWO officials are tracking their movement to launch further control operations as they settle for the night. More locust control teams  from Rajasthan have moved to Haryana and UP to help in control operations, the statement added. 

Residents in many parts of Gurugram on Saturday woke up to rustles of locusts as they descended on Delhi’s satellite city in huge numbers. According to officials, the swarm spread across two kilometres and moved from west to east towards Faridabad and Palwal.

Expect several waves of locusts: UN body

Though these migratory pests are a regular visitors to the Thar desert, this year their arrival was at least two months in advance. According to UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) officials tracking the transborder movement of these locusts right from East Africa, India could expect several waves of locusts this year with favourable weather conditions, aided further by climate change. 

In May, India battled a devastating desert locust outbreak. The crop-destroying swarms first attacked Rajasthan and then spread to Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

The desert locust is considered the most destructive. It multiplies rapidly and is capable of covering 150 kilometres in a day.

A type of a grasshopper, locusts can eat more than their body weight. A one square kilometre of locust swarm contain around 40 to 80 million locusts and they can eat in a day food that is enough to feed 35,000 people.

Published on June 27, 2020

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