Control operations carried out in 3,83,631 hectares: Focus on Rajasthan, Gujarat
GN Bureau | July 23, 2020
Even as India, along with the world, continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, it also has to fight another menace: Locusts. The Food and Agriculture Organization’s Locust Status Update of July 21 indicates that the risk of swarm migration from Horn of Africa prevails in coming weeks.
In Somalia, the swarms are moving eastwards across the north and a limited number of swarms could migrate across the Indian Ocean to the Indo-Pakistan border area; during the remainder of this month, an official release of the agriculture ministry said Wednesday.
See the FAO forecast map here: http://www.fao.org/ag/locusts/common/ecg/75/en/200708forecastE.jpg
The FAO is organizing a weekly virtual meeting on Desert Locust of South-West Asian countries (Afghanistan, India, Iran and Pakistan). So far, 15 virtual meetings of the technical officers of South West Asian countries have taken place so far, the release said.
Between April 11 and July 21, Locust Circle Offices (LCOs) have carried out control operations in 1,95,450 hectares area in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Till July 21, control operations have been done in 1,88,181 hectares area in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Bihar by state governments.
In the intervening night of July 21-22, LCOs carried out control operations at 29 places in 11 districts of Rajasthan: Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Churu, Sikar, Nagaur, Jaipur, Pali, Hanumangarh, and Sriganganagar. The Rajasthan state agriculture department also carried out control operations at two places in Dausa district in the same night against small groups and scattered population of locusts.
Currently, 104 control teams with spray vehicles are deputed/deployed in the Rajasthan and Gujarat, and more than 200 central government personnel are engaged in locust control operations. 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. A Bell helicopter has been deployed in Rajasthan for use in Scheduled Desert Area as per the need. Indian Air Force also has conducted trials in anti-locust operation by using a Mi-17 helicopter. The results are encouraging.
No significant crop losses have been reported in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Haryana. However, some minor crop losses have been reported in some districts of Rajasthan.
As of Wednesday, swarms of immature pink locusts and adult yellow locusts are active in Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Churu, Sikar, Nagaur, Jaipur, Pali, Hanumangarh, Sriganganagar and Dausa districts of Rajasthan.
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