Locust Headed Towards UP, Control Operations Underway Through Drones

LUCKNOW/NEW DELHI || Locust control operations are going on in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Punjab and Maharashtra. In total 60 ground control teams of Locust Circle Offices and 12 Drones are being used for Locust Control operations.

The Locust Warning Organization and 10 Locust Circle Offices in coordination with State Governments undertake locust control operations in schedule desert areas of Rajasthan and Gujarat. The State Governments through their Agriculture Departments undertake locust control in the cropped area. This year starting from April 11, in this season 1,27,225 hectares have been controlled till June 26, 2020.

One swarm of 2 km x 4 km size which was previously controlled in Jhunjhunu district (Rajasthan) on 26th June 2020 moved to Rewari district in Haryana. This swarm in Rewari was controlled by the State Agriculture Department deploying 40 tractors and 4 fire brigade vehicles. Two Ground control teams and officers of Locust Circle office were also present and joined them. Control operations were carried out from midnight to early morning hours on June 27.

The leftover swarm initially moved towards Jhajjar district in the morning and thereafter turned towards east following the wind direction. This swarm split into 3-4 smaller swarms. One moved towards Nuh (Haryana) and two swarms moved over Gurugram, moving further towards U.P.

Two teams deployed in Haryana are following these swarms. Five more ground control teams have been moved from Nagaur and Jaipur in Rajasthan to join the operations in U.P. Drones have also been moved from Jaisalmer to join operations. State Agriculture Departments of Haryana & U.P. have been continuously kept informed and they are making necessary arrangements for control wherever the swarm finally settles.

It is pertinent to mention that on 27th morning, apart from control operations at Rewari, locust controls have been undertaken by ground control teams of Locust Circle offices in coordination with agriculture department officials of State Government in 2 locations in Jaisalmer, 6 locations in Barmer, 6 locations in Jodhpur, 4 locations in Bikaner, 4 locations in Nagaur, 1 location in Jaipur and Sikar district in Rajasthan. Furthermore, control operations have been undertaken at 1 location in U.P. also.

India is the first country to control locust by using drones after finalizing the protocols and getting all statutory approvals. Major operations are concentrated in Rajasthan where maximum resources are committed. State governments have deployed tractor mounted sprayers and fire tender vehicles in large numbers to undertake locust control in the cropped area.

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.

Virtual meetings of the technical officers of South West Asian countries (Afghanistan, India, Iran and Pakistan) have taken place on a weekly basis. So far 14 SWAC-TOC meetings have been done this year. Technical information related to locust control in the region is being shared. It is being coordinated by FAO.

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