After Wreaking Havoc in MP & Rajasthan, Locusts Enter Maharashtra

After wreaking havoc in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Rajasthan, a swarm of desert locusts has also entered the eastern part of Maharashtra, with at least four to five villages in the Vidarbha region coming under attack in the last couple of days, news PTI reported.

"The swarm of desert locusts entered the state from Amravati district. It then went to Wardha and now it is in Nagpur's Katol tehsil," Ravindra Bhosale, the joint director of agriculture, told PTI, adding that the process of spraying chemicals on crops is underway.

Many Indian states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh have been battling the locust attack that reportedly emerged in East Africa.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations considers the desert locust as the most dangerous of all migratory pest species in the world, which poses a threat to people's livelihoods, food security, environment, and economic development.

On Monday, locusts were seen in Rajasthan's capital Jaipur.

Worst Locust Attack in 26 Years

"It is for the first time that drones and planes will be used to fight the locust attack in Rajasthan," BR Karwa, project director, Agricultural Technology Management Agency, was quoted as saying.

Union Minister for Agriculture Kailash Chowdhary has even requested the DGCA to help the government with planes that can fight the locust menace from a height by spraying pesticides, according to IANS.

Gujarat and Punjab have also been warned and have been asked to prepare for an attack. This has been reported as one of the worst locust attacks in 26 years and Pakistan had to declare a national emergency after the locusts hit the Punjab province destroying crops on a large scale.

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The locusts have already destroyed crops in 18 districts of Rajasthan and almost a dozen districts of Madhya Pradesh.

The swarm recently made landfall in the city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh. A threat also looms over 17 other districts of the state, including Aligarh, Mathura, and Jhansi.

The government is also looking at deploying drones, satellite tools, and sprayers at pre-identified locations near state borders, reports said.

They are also deploying fire-brigade vehicles to help spray the field with chemicals. In Agra, the government has deployed 204 tractors mounted with spray guns.

Experts have warned that if the locust problem is not controlled it could lead to the damage of standing moong cereal crops subsequently causing a loss of almost Rs 8,000 crore, reported NDTV. Not only that, if they keep spreading, we can expect crop damages for cotton and chilli worth several thousand crores of rupees.

These pests are also capable of inflicting damage on the nurseries of fruits and vegetables.

(With inputs from PTI, IANS and NDTV)

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