Locust control operations in full swing mainly in Rajasthan, Gujarat and MP in coordination with State Agricultural Departments, Local Administration and BSF

 

New Delhi: The locust control operation is in full swing mainly in Rajasthan, Gujarat and MP. 62 spray equipments (21 Micronair and 41 Ulvamast) are being used by Locust Circle Offices while 200 employees of Locust Warning Organization are deployed for conducting survey and control work. Control room has been established in all 10 Locust Circle Offices and also at LWO, Jodhpur. Even beyond the Scheduled Desert Area, temporary base camps are set up, at Jaipur, Ajmer, Dausa and Chittorgarh in Rajasthan; Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh; and at Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh for effective control of desert locust.

Presently the control work is in full swing with the cooperation and coordination of the State Agricultural Departments, Local Administration and BSF. Two locust swarms from Indo-Pak border areas are reported, one each in Bikaner and Sriganganagar district. Control operation is going on against these swarms. At present, swarms of immature pink locusts with intermittent population of maturing yellow adults are active in Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Sri Ganganagar, Jaipur, Nagaur, and Ajmer districts of Rajasthan, Panna district of Madhya Pradesh and Lalitpur district of Uttar Pradesh.

Everyday locust control operations are carried out in the morning hours with the help of vehicle mounted sprayers, tractors and fire tender vehicles. The control operations are conducted with cooperation and in coordination with concerned officials of district administration and State Agriculture Department. So far, the Rajasthan government has deployed total 2142 tractors and 46 fire brigade vehicles, Madhya Pradesh total 83 tractors and 47 fire brigade vehicles, Uttar Pradesh 4 tractors and 16 fire brigade vehicles, Punjab total 50 tractors and 6 fire brigade vehicles and Gujarat deployed 38 tractors for locust control. The immature locust is very active and mobile making it difficult to control the swarm at one location, due to which it takes 4 to 5 days to control at different locations to completely eliminate the locust population in one place. The yellow, mature adults appear tending to copulate in some areas.

Supply order for 60 additional sprayers is placed with M/s. Micron, UK. On May 22, 2020, a VC was organized in the UK with representatives from Micron, UK and Indian High Commission to discuss the details of the supply plan. 15 no. of equipment has been received and deployed for locust control. The delivery of remaining equipment is also scheduled in due course.

Government of India has also issued a supply order of 5 CD Atomizer kits with GPS Trackers for aerial spray capabilities from this UK based company. The first two kits will be available in September 2020 and the remaining 3 kits are to be made after one month of their successful testing. These kits will be fitted into helicopters of the Indian Air Force (as agreed by them) and will be used for air operations for control of desert locusts.

For effective control of locusts in inaccessible areas and on top of tall trees, use of drones is being explored. An e-tender was invited to provide services of drones for aerial spraying of pesticides. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has approved conditional exemption for locust control. An Empowered Committee has been constituted under the Chairmanship of Additional Secretary, DAC&FW to assess and facilitate the possibility of aerial control capability as a locust control measure. On its recommendation, Work Order for engagement of drones has been issued to 5 companies on 06.06.2020. These companies have started work in Barmer, Jaisalmer, Phalodi, Bikaner and Nagaur areas and so far 12 drones have been deployed.

Supply order has also been issued for purchase of 55 additional vehicles to strengthen the control capacity. 33 vehicles have been delivered and deployed in locust control operations.

The situation is monitored constantly by higher authorities and needful is being done on priority basis.

As on 21.06.2020, locust control has been undertaken in 114,026 hectare area in Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The break-up of area treated is appended in the table.

District wise summary of control data (as on 21.06.2020)

Sl. No. Name of district No. of Spots Area Treated (ha.)
Ajmer 24 5339
Alwar 2 185
Barmer 144 19750
Bhilwara 13 2505
Bikaner 49 8564
Bundi 2 235
Chittorgarh 12 2235
Churu 4 830
Dausa 7 2135
Hanumangarh 4 575
Jaipur 12 2435
Jaisalmer 74 10609
Jalore 8 1444
Jhalawar 1 205
Jhunjhunu 1 60
Jodhpur 103 16645
Karauli 1 25
Kota 3 505
Nagaur 56 10490
Pali 15 1985
Pratapgarh 2 370
Sawai Madhopur 1 130
Sikar 5 1110
Sirohi 3 560
Sriganganagar 68 4875
Tonk 2 425
Udaipur 3 715
Fazilka 20 640
Banaskantha 7 225
Kutch 10 560
Mhesana 2 190
Patan 2 55
Sabarkantha 1 40
Banda 1 100
Hamirpur 1 90
Jhansi 3 255
Lalitpur 2 235
Mahoba 2 170
Prayagraj 2 170
Sonbhadra 1 10
Amravati 3 146
Bhandara 4 410
Gondia 3 470
Nagpur 11 409
Agar Malwa 4 292
Anuppur 1 60
Ashoknagar 13 895
Balaghat 3 262
Betul 6 201
Bhopal 6 340
Chhatarpur 9 485
Chhindwara 9 156
Damoh 6 472
Dewas 5 210
Dindori 1 7
Guna 5 332
Gwalior 2 120
Harda 3 239
Hoshangabad 2 150
Jabalpur 2 37
Khandwa 3 124
Khargon 1 150
Mandla 8 328
Mandsaur 5 1075
Morena 4 279
Neemuch 9 1316
Niwari 4 300
Panna 4 185
Raisen 4 88
Rajgarh 6 152
Ratlam 5 816
Rewa 3 127
Sagar 3 139
Satna 14 565
Sehore 3 147
Seoni 3 187
Shahdol 3 29
Sheopur 5 223
Shajapur 2 52
Shivpuri 24 1566
Sidhi 6 156
Ujjain 5 1853
Vidisha 10 713
Kabirdham 4 82
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