To fight locust swarms in India, the agriculture ministry is seeking aid from drones that can fly during the night and stay airborne for an extended duration, The Economics Times reported.
India's civil aviation regulator gave conditional permission to use drones for anti locust operations. India became the first country to do so. Locust swarms come just before the monsoon season in Rajasthan and surrounding regions, where desert locusts migrate to over the next few weeks to breed and lay eggs.
Also read: Locust menace in several districts of Uttar Pradesh
Parts of Delhi were put on high alert as locust swarms descended upon Gurugram during the weekend.
Atish Chandra, Joint Secretary - Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Department of Agriculture, said, “Locusts are most inactive after sunset, so it makes sense to spray at night. We are also in talks with manufacturers who have drones that are powered by fuel, so they can stay airborne for a longer duration,”.
The ministry of agriculture will seek permissions from the civil aviation ministry soon for the expanded list of requirements.
Also read: Swarms of locust clouds over Gurugram, likely to spare Delhi
With just a dozen drones in operation which are fairly less deployed and another dozen soon to be deployed, the agriculture department has found them to be invaluable in spraying the tops of tall trees and for their ability to reach inaccessible areas. Drones will, however, not replace traditional methods of locust control, which are still cheaper.