Locust control operations carried out in more than 2.75 lakh hectare area so far: Agriculture Ministry

Union Agriculture Ministry has said that locust control operations have been carried out in more than 2.75 lakh hectare area so far since 11th of April in various states. The States are Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh, Haryana and Bihar. The Ministry said, aerial spraying capacity has been strengthened for anti-locust operations.

A Bell helicopter has also been deployed in Rajasthan for use in Scheduled Desert Area as per the need. Indian Air Force has conducted trials in anti-locust operation by using an Mi-17 helicopter and the results are encouraging. IAF started participating in anti-locust operations from 5th of this month by deploying the Mi-17 helicopter for aerial spraying in Jodhpur district. This is first of its kind exercise in the history of locust control in India.

The Ministry said, further, five 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. It said, presently 60 control teams with spray vehicles are deployed in State of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and more than 200 Central Government personnel are engaged in locust control operations. In addition, 20 spray equipments have reached India.

The Ministry said, no significant crop losses have been reported in the States of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh, Bihar and Haryana. However, some minor crop losses have been reported in some districts of Rajasthan.