May 27: Amidst a wave of locust swarms sweeping across western and northwestern India, the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (DAC&FW) has stepped up locust control operations in the affected States of Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. As of today, there are active swarms of immature locust in Barmer, Jodhpur, Nagaur, Bikaner, Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Sikar, Jaipur Districts in Rajasthan and Satna, Gwalior, Seedhi, Rajgarh, Baitul, Devas, Agar Malwa district of Madhya Pradesh.
At present 200 Locust Circle Offices (LCO) are conducting survey & control operations in close coordination with District Administration and agriculture field machinery of the affected States. Locust control operations are in full swing in coordination with State Agriculture Departments and Local Administration. In Rajasthan 21 districts, in Madhya Pradesh 18 districts, in Punjab one district and in Gujarat 2 districts have undertaken Locust control till now. For effective control of locusts beyond Scheduled Desert Areas, temporary control camps have been established in Ajmer, Chittorgarh and Dausa in Rajasthan; Mandsaur, Ujjain and Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh and Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh.
Usually, the locust swarms enter the Scheduled Desert Area of India through Pakistan for summer breeding in the month of June/July with the advent of monsoon. This year, however the incursions of locust hoppers and pink swarms have been reported much earlier because of presence of residual population of Locusts in Pakistan which they couldn’t control last season. Since 11th April 2020, locust hoppers and from 30th April, 2020, the incursion of pink immature adults has been reported in bordering districts of Rajasthan and Punjab, which are being controlled. Pink immature adults fly high and cover long distances during day hours from one place to another along with the westerly winds coming from the Pakistan side. Most of these pink immature adults settle on the trees during night and mostly fly during day.
Concerned over the early attack of locust swarms this year, the Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar chaired a meeting with the pesticide manufacturers and all related stakeholders on 6th May, 2020 to review the preparedness for locust control in the affected States