In March this year, the BJP Government made an attempt to ‘drive away’ corona by beating ‘thalis’, and now, two months later, the UP Government has issued directives asking farmers to beat utensils, tin boxes and make other noises to chase away swarms of locusts which have entered Uttar Pradesh.
This directive was given in a meeting of officials of the Agriculture department by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. On Wednesday night, a press release was issued which says that directives have been issued for villagers to beat ‘thalis’, tin boxes and drums to drive away locusts.
“We are told that locusts get scared and move away from the area where noise is being made. So, we have asked the farmers to make noise by whatever means it is possible. If it is by beating ‘thalis’ – just do it,” said Agriculture Minister Surya Pratap Shahi.
Uttar Pradesh districts bordering Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are reeling under the attack by locusts. Swarms of locusts were witnessed in Jhansi’s Moth and Garautha Tehsils. Similarly, another swarm of locust was seen in Ghorwal tehsil of Sonebhadra district after it entered from Singrauli in MP. UP government has issued a high alert on the locust swarm attack in 17 bordering districts.
The 17 districts which have been alerted are Jhansi, Lalitpur, Agra, Mathura, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Banda, Chitrakoot, Jalaun, Etawah, Sonebhadra, Mirzapur, Chandauli and Kanpur Dehat.
Shahi said state level teams have been formed to tackle the issue and they have been rushed to the affected districts. "These teams will keep a vigil and inform districts concerned about action need to be taken. At district headquarters, nodal officers have been appointed and a task force constituted. Information on how to tackle locusts has been sent to district officials through social media and other means. Farmers have been given information on the issue," he said.
Kamal Katiyar, deputy director in UP’s Agriculture Department said fire brigade vehicles loaded with insecticide have been deployed in all affected tehsils.
Swarms of locusts have been sighted in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. The experts say that locust attacks are routine events but the scale this time is much bigger.
The desert locust is one of the 12 species of short-horned grasshoppers. Locust swarms can travel up to 130 km in a day and each locust can consume about two grams of fresh vegetation i.e. equivalent to its own weight.
According to a report, a one square kilometer swarm of locusts, with about 40 million locusts, can in a day eat as much food as 35,000 people, assuming that each individual consumes 2.3 kg of food per day.
The locusts reached Rajasthan on May 22.