New Delhi: At least 15 districts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are currently facing active swarms of locust in India with as many as eight states already having sounded an alert to combat the pest attack, according to the Agriculture Ministry.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, 21 districts of Rajashtan, 18 districts of Madhya Pradesh, two districts of Gujarat and one district of Punjab have already undertaken locust control measures. Temporary control camps have been established at Ajmer, Chittorgarh and Dausa in Rajasthan; Mandsaur, Ujjain and Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh and Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh.
As of May 27, there are active swarms of immature locusts in Barmer, Jodhpur, Nagaur, Bikaner, Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Sikar, Jaipur in Rajasthan and Satna, Gwalior, Seedhi, Rajgarh, Baitul, Devas, Agar Malwa in Madhya Pradesh.
Meanwhile, officials in the ministry told Times Now that 200 locust circle offices (LCOs) are have undertaken surveillance and operations to curb the menace of the locusts.
So far, the Ministry of Agriculture has carried out pest control operations in close to 47-thousand hectare land area covering a total of 303 locations spread out in Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
Ministry officials added that the immature locusts are very active and mobile. Therefore it becomes difficult to contain them at one location. It takes around four to five days to eliminate one particular swarm by carrying out control operations at several locations.
The officials added that while the ministry has already pressed in fire tenders, survey vehicles, control vehicles and tractor mounted sprayers, the permission using drones has also been acquired from the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
The Ministry of Agriculture officials have, however, blamed Pakistan and the middle east for the increased locust incursion in India.
Last year the onset of locust began on May 21 and continued till February 17 this year. But what's even more worrying, is that the onset began on April 11 this year.