Drones, planes to counter locust attack? Govt set to bring down crop-devouring locust swarm, details here

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Published: May 29, 2020 11:18 AM

After swarms of immature locusts have wreaked havoc across at least 13 districts in four states in India, the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare has stepped in with a new plan that includes using aircraft and drones.

The government has declared providing some financial aid to the states as well.

Locust attack in India: Drones, planes to bring down locust swarms? After swarms of immature locusts have wreaked havoc across at least 13 districts in four states in India, the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare has stepped in with a new plan that includes using aircraft for aerial spay and drones to control the spread of the green leaf or in in this case, crop-devouring insects. According to a notification by the ministry, a committee has been set up that will look to procure services as well as goods for spraying insecticides with the use of drones and airplanes, under the chairmanship of the Additional Secretary of the Department.

How will drones be used to tackle swarms of locusts?
The ministry said that while drones will be utilised to spray pesticides on all tall trees in the infected areas and other inaccessible places, helicopters will be used to spray on other areas for effective control of locusts. The infestation is expected to be the worst in the last 27 years and is a major concern of worry as these desert locusts have the ability to clear out hectares of land in just a day destroying crops all over.

Locust control measures reviewed
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, according to the ministry statement, reviewed all locust control operations along with other ministers in the department. Tomar said that around 11 Regional Control Rooms have already been established as well as the government has approved the deployment of special contingents and some additional manpower that will keep the spread of locusts in check. If needed, the government has declared providing some financial aid to the states as well. He further highlighted that the government is dealing with the locusts infestation on an urgent basis.

It is to note that with the help of pesticide sprays, the spread has been curbed in an area of 50,468 hectares across 334 locations in Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The ministry further assured that the centre will remain in close contact with all the affected areas. Around 15 sprayers have also been asked from Britain which is expected to arrive in the next 15 days wherein another 45 sprayers will be procured by June end.

Meanwhile, the centre has also raised warnings for other several states and union territories including Uttar Pradesh and Delhi for a possible attack by swarms of crop-eating insects. However, at this moment, there is no immediate danger for Delhi.

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