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India’s Locust Nightmare Spreads To Maharashtra, UP; High Alert In Punjab

Rajasthan is the worst affected state within the locust assault.

New Delhi:

Massive swarms of desert locusts are destroying crops throughout western and central India, spearing into Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab now, after Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, as the federal government mentioned it has stepped up its response to the nation’s worst locust assault in almost three many years.

Locust containment measures and sprinkling operations have been performed in 303 areas unfold over greater than 47,000 hectares until Wednesday in 20 districts of Rajasthan, 9 in Madhya Pradesh, two in Gujarat and one every in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, sources within the Agriculture Ministry mentioned.

The authorities is utilizing specialised spraying machines and has arrange 11 management rooms to coordinate the response. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar is intently monitoring the state of affairs and held three conferences with state agriculture ministers and representatives of pesticides firms, officers mentioned. The authorities can also be inviting tenders for drones for aerial spraying of pesticides.

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India’s locust infestation this yr is the worst in 26 years, an officiual mentioned.

The pest, which threatens vegetable and pulse crops, haven’t impacted rabi (winter) produce in India however the authorities efforts are on to remove the bugs earlier than monsoon with a purpose to save kharif crops, officers from the Locust Warning Organisation (LWO) mentioned on Wednesday.

After attacking crops in Madhya Pradesh, a swarm of locusts reached Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi district on Wednesday, a authorities official mentioned. Other districts within the area are additionally on alert.

In Maharashtra, swarms of locusts that had entered Katol and Parseoni in Nagpur district over the past 4 days may transfer in the direction of Ramtek metropolis although it’s tough to foretell their actual flying course, a senior agriculture division official mentioned.

The swarms stretching as much as 17 km in size had first entered farms in Fetri, Khangaon in Katol in Nagpur district and in Ashti taluka in Wardha district on Saturday night time and Sunday the place they broken orange crop and vegetable plantations in some areas, earlier than shifting in the direction of Parseoni tehsil on Monday night time.

Punjab too has been placed on excessive alert for the infestation and management rooms have been arrange in every district and farmers have been requested to report any exercise of locusts, Punjab Director Agriculture Sawtantar Kumar Airi mentioned.

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Locust swarms can cowl 50-100 km a day, officers mentioned.

Locusts belong to the household of grasshoppers and are often innocent however sure environmental circumstances like monsoon and heavy cyclones make them reproduce quicker. The swarm is very cell and covers 50 to greater than 100 km in a day.

“There is a continuous locust invasion from Pakistan. It is not a new problem and we had been facing it for a long time. This year, the locusts attack is worse in 26 years. However, a coordinated effort has been made to curb its spread,” a senior official from the Faridabad-headquartered LWO informed information company PTI.

According to the UN physique Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the locusts assault pose a menace to meals safety of the affected international locations as an grownup locust can eat a amount equal to its weight of about 2 grams each single day.

A single sq. kilometre of the swarm can comprise someplace between four to eight crore grownup locusts. Every single day, in the event that they cowl 130-150 km, they’ll eat the meals consumed by as many as 35,000 folks, it mentioned.

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