Locust attack: Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar informed that the government has placed orders for five aerial spraying machines from a UK-based company that will be deployed on IAF helicopters and used for locust control.
Locust attack: To control the spread of locusts and to curb any further advancement of the swarms, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday flagged off a helicopter service that will conduct aerial spray. The official statement said the helicopters will first be deployed to control locust swarms in the desert areas of Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur and Nagaur in Rajasthan.
The helicopter that will be deployed for locust control will be initially stationed at the Air Force Station at Uttarlai in Barmer and be used for spraying in the desert areas.
In view of the menace of locust swarms that recently reached up to the border areas of the national capital, Tomar said that the government is fully prepared to tackle the situation, and that the deployment of spraying machines, vehicles and manpower has been increased. He added that in order to control the locust swarms the Centre was working closely with the state governments.
The official release stated that the Bell 206-B3 helicopter that will be deployed for spraying has a capacity to cover up to 25 to 50 hectare area in one flight while carrying 250 litres of pesticide. The helicopter will be operated by a single pilot, it added.
The minister stated that the locust attack that took place last year happened after a long gap of 26 years, and that the Centre and states are well-prepared to handle the situation. He further added that drones were being used for the first time for locust control and aerial spraying of insecticides by using helicopters has also been launched for the same purpose.
He further informed that the government has placed orders for five aerial spraying machines from a UK-based company that will be deployed on IAF helicopters and used for locust control.
So far, loss of crop has been reported from some districts of Rajasthan due to locust attacks.