Locusts enter few border areas of Delhi, leave towards Haryana

A small swarm of locusts from a larger swarm in Gurugram entered Delhi on Saturday afternoon and left towards Faridabad side and South, West, and South-West districts of the city have been put on high alert, authorities said.

“A large swarms of locusts was going towards Palwal (from Gurugram). But a small part of it entered Delhi border in Jasola Bhatti area. We have instructed the Forest Department to beat drums, dhol and play DJ to drive away the locusts and also spray chemical,” Development Minister Gopal Rai told media on Saturday afternoon after a meeting with officials.

Watch | Swarms of locusts reach Gurugram

He also said that South, West, and South-West districts have been put on high alert.

“This is a small swarm that has come to Delhi, but we are monitoring the situation. Now the wind direction is towards the south and if it changes, the locusts may come towards Delhi. We will stay in touch with officials of the central government, so that if there is any change of the movement of locusts in Haryana we will stay updated,” the Minister said.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Ishwer Sigh, said that locusts entered around 3:40 pm and left Delhi by 5:10 pm as the Forest Department officials did not allow the locusts to settle down.

“We had information from the central government that the locusts may enter Delhi today as it was in Rewari in Haryana yesterday. So we were prepared and had sprayed chemicals in some areas,” Mr. Singh told The Hindu.

He said that the locusts tried to settle down in their tree plantations in Devli, Tughlakabad, and Sahoorpur village. “But our officials went around the plantation, beating drums and did not allow them to settle down. It entered from Gurgaon side and left towards Faridabad side. Our officials will be on high alert during the night and will also be in touch with the central government on the situation,” Mr. Singh said.

Also, the Delhi government on Saturday afternoon issued an advisory to “contain and control” the menace locusts in Delhi.

“All the District Magistrates are advised to remain on high alert and to coordinate with the district Fire Department personnel to make arrangements for the spray of prescribed pesticides/insecticides in the following proportion,” reads one of the points of the advisory.

The advisory also mentions keeping doors and windows closed, covering outdoor plants with plastic sheets among other measures. “Night spray of Melathion or Chloropyriphos is useful. May use PPE kit while spraying for safety,” it read.


Origin in Rajasthan

The Union Agriculture Ministry said the locust swarms hitting Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh had originated from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan. Control teams were deployed to eliminate the locusts in Jhunjhunu on Friday morning, but by evening, the remaining locusts had regrouped and reached Rewari in Haryana, said an official statement.


Despite overnight control operations, the swarm then divided into three groups on Saturday, “one of which moved towards Gurugram, and from there to Faridabad and onwards to Uttar Pradesh. Another swarm moved towards Dwarka in Delhi, from there to Daulatabad, Gurugram, Faridabad, and this swarm has also entered Uttar Pradesh. The third group was seen in Palwal, Haryana, and has also moved towards Uttar Pradesh,” said the statement. “As of now, no locust swarms are spotted in any city areas,” it said.


Control teams have been moved from Rajasthan to Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to help track and control the swarms, along with officials of the Central Locust Warning Organisation.


"The locusts keep flying during day time and settle down only after dark in the evening," said the statement. "Ground control teams are constantly tracking them and will undertake major control operations once they settle down. Control teams in U.P. have been alerted for this."


Congress’s charge

Congress leaders in Haryana have accused the BJP-JJP government of failing to tackle locust attacks, which they have said has resulted in a crop loss.

Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Saturday said had the government taken effective steps in time, the farmers could have been saved from major losses.

He said locust swarms from Pakistan entered Haryana through Rajasthan and caused damage to millet, cotton and other crops in Mahendragarh, Rewari, Gurgaon, Mewat, Jhajjar and Faridabad districts.

“State government should undertake a special drive to assess the loss in all the districts and pay compensation to farmers immediately. There should not be any delay is assessing the damage of making the payment because farmers are in distress due to damages suffered due to unseasonal rains and hailstorm,” he said.

Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja said the locust attack was the result of the government’s casual and laid-back approach. “Even though the government was aware of the locust threat, it did not make any preparation to deal with it. And now, due to the failures of the government, farmers were suffering huge losses,” she said.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 7:51:29 PM |

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