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Locust attack: Delhi environment minister calls emergency meeting

PTI New Delhi | Updated on June 27, 2020 Published on June 27, 2020

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Saturday called an emergency meeting here to discuss the situation following a locust attack in neighbouring Gurugram. The minister also directed the administration to be alert, an official said.

“After the emergency meeting, an advisory will be issued on steps to be taken to deal with the situation,” Rai told PTI. He asked the officials of the Agriculture department to make field visits to areas close to Gurugram.

The Development Secretary, Divisional Commissioner, Director, Agriculture department, and the district magistrates of South Delhi and West Delhi will attend the meeting, the official said.

Earlier in the day, the skies over many parts of Gurugram turned dark as swarms of locusts descended on the town. However, the migratory pests are likely to spare the national capital for now, officials said.

The swarms of locusts, spread across two kilometres, moved from west to east. They entered Gurugram around 11:30 AM, KL Gurjar of the Locust Warning Organisation, Ministry of Agriculture, told PTI. The pests, he said, were headed towards Faridabad and Palwal in Haryana.

Alarmed at the invasion of the locusts, which settled on trees, rooftops and plants, many residents of Gurugram shared videos from their high-rise perches.

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.

According to experts, broadly four species of locusts are found in India — desert locust, migratory locust, Bombay locust and tree locust. The desert locust is considered the most destructive. It multiplies very rapidly and is capable of covering 150 kilometers in a day.

This insect, a type of a grasshopper, can eat more than its body weight. A one square kilometer of locust swarm containing around 40 million locusts can in a day eat as much food as 35,000 people.

Experts blame the growing menace of desert locusts on climate change. They say breeding of locusts is directly related to soil moisture and food availability.

Published on June 27, 2020
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