Fresh swarms of desert locusts, crop-damaging migratory pests, are continuing to enter Rajasthan from across the border in much greater in number raising concern over its impact on crops, Mint has reported.
The current attack reportedly began in April when swarms entered Rajasthan from Pakistan and then spread to other states.
The swarms were first noticed in parts of the border districts of Suratgarh and Jaisalmer that led the officials to spring into action to prevent their spread. But the threat has been exacerbated by the breeding of more locusts in the neighbouring nation, said the report.
“New swarms are continuing to come from across the border,” an official based in Suratgarh told the publication, adding that this time, they are much greater in number.
The swarms are moving to quieter areas, as they stay away from sources of high decibel sounds, the official was quoted as saying.
After entering to Rajasthan, the swarms diverted towards Madhya Pradesh and impacted large parts of the two states. They further attack some parts of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, and could invade other areas, as and when the wind changes direction, KL Gurjar, deputy director, Locust Warning Organisation (LWO) told the publication.
Currently, there is less risk to Delhi or its surrounding areas, said Gurjar.
The wind direction tends to change seasonally but they vary regularly depending on the daily weather changes and rain-bearing systems, the report suggested citing weather experts at India Meteorological Department. At present, the wind direction is south-westerly, it said.
Amid what is being described as the worst attack by the locust swarms in recent years, experts fear that it could increase by June, “if more action is not taken urgently to control their infestation and mitigate damage,” said the report.
Meanwhile, the government has stepped up efforts to control the spread of swarms of locust in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, and plans to soon deploy drones for spraying pesticides, the Union Agriculture Ministry has said.
About 21 districts in Rajasthan, 18 districts in Madhya Pradesh, 2 districts in Gujarat and 1 district in Punjab have undertaken locust control measures till now, the ministry said in a statement.
It has been controlled in 47,308 hectare areas so far in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, it said.(With inputs from PTI)