The Union Ministry of Agriculture on Saturday said that India is the first country to control locust attacks with the help of drones. The Ministry said that the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), a body under the UN, has appreciated India’s move by saying it is the only country in the world to control locust using drones, even as the locust menace reached the national capital with distressing visuals emerging from Gurugram.
"India is the first country to control locust by using drones after finalising the protocols and getting all statutory approvals. Major operations are concentrated in Rajasthan where maximum resources are committed," the Agriculture Ministry said in a release.
The Ministry informed that locust swarms are being tracked by teams of the state agriculture departments of Rajasthan, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, local administrations along with officials of the Central Locust Warning Organisation. Several control teams from Rajasthan have been moved to Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to help in warding away locust swarms.
Swarms of locusts have invaded several parts of Uttar Pradesh, including the home district of the state agriculture minister, in the past 48 hours, officials said on Saturday, adding they were taking steps to either chase the insects away or kill them.
"A swarm of locusts had come to Deoria, but they descended only on Baisila Mainuddin village. Villagers made noise and chased them away. The swarm has gone towards Kushinagar. The districts where the swarm of locusts will take shelter, chemicals will be sprayed on them and they will be killed. The neighbouring districts have been alerted," Shahi said.
"The UP government has given Rs 5 lakh to each of the bordering districts of the state for spraying chemicals to kill locusts. Apart from this, a monitoring committee has been formed in each district under the chief development officer to continuously monitor the situation," Shahi said.
Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare said that aerial spraying of insecticides is being done by drones in the regions of Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Nagore, and Jodhpur districts of Rajasthan to curb the locust menace. The Ministry added that under the Make in India initiative in locust control, trials of prototype vehicle mounted ULV sprayer has been successfully conducted in Ajmer and Bikaner.
(With agency inputs)