(Juhi Aishwary, Intern Journalist): locust teams have entered Maharashtra along with Uttar Pradesh, after Madhya Pradesh via Rajasthan. This time their size is also large. Their movement has also increased due to the complete containment due to lockdown. This is the reason why Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Punjab, and Haryana have issued an alert, sensing the danger.
In states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh, crops are facing wastage due to locust attack. Locusts breed in large numbers due to excess rainfall in South Africa. The grasshopper group is believed to have increased further due to breeding in Balochistan, Pakistan, and Iran before arriving in India. This is why the problem is more widespread this time.
Haryana fully prepared
The state government’s concern has increased with the locusts turning to Haryana. The officers of the Agriculture Department have been put on high alert. Medicines have been stored in all the districts. State Agriculture Minister Jayaprakash Dalal said that the Agriculture Department is fully prepared. It is a matter of relief that the locust party has moved to Rajasthan-Gujarat with the wind.
Locusts have been spotted at isolated places in Haryana. Entomologists from Haryana Agriculture Department and Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (CCHAU) say that the locust team is currently 135 km from the Haryana border.
This is why Punjab is more threatened
Due to being adjacent to the border of Pakistan and Rajasthan, their danger is also to Punjab. Locusts have also been seen in many villages in the Fazilka district before, but as seen here, it is only a broken part of a large herd. The Punjab government has issued a high alert in Faridkot, Fazilka, and Bathinda.
Fear of reaching Lucknow via Kanpur countryside
The swarm of tadis has come close to Agra and Hamirpur. A high alert was declared in Hamirpur in view of the possibility of their halt due to greenery on the banks of Betwa river in Hamirpur till late evening. It is feared that they will enter Lucknow via Hamirpur to Kanpur countryside and then to Unnao. Due to this, everyone has been instructed to be ready.
Locusts reached Sonbhadra in UP
Despite the windy direction, on Wednesday (May 27), several small grasshoppers were seen flying towards Jhansi. A small group reaches Sonbhadra. According to information received from the Uttar Pradesh State Control Room, locusts attacked in Moth and Garutha tehsil area of Jhansi district but due to lack of numbers, crops suffered less. The control teams drove the locusts in collaboration with the villagers.
Efforts to control locusts continue
Constant efforts are being made to stop locusts. In UP, there are instructions to destroy locusts instead of exterminating them. Pesticide spraying is being done continuously in MP districts for control. In this action, the herds of the remaining locusts have entered Maharashtra via Uttar Pradesh and Betul via Sidhi-Singrauli.
Experts believe that by the onset of monsoon, the locust will be completely controlled. More than 30 districts of MP are affected by locusts. The locusts in Madhya Pradesh via Mandsaur and Neemuch are constantly being monitored by central and state government teams.
Instructions to destroy locusts rather than exterminate them
Uttar Pradesh Agriculture Minister Suryapratap Shahi says that locusts should not be harmed, so they have been instructed to destroy them by spraying chemical drugs instead of exterminating them. In Jhansi, 40% of locusts have also been successful in destruction.
Good monsoon became trouble
Locusts from Africa enjoyed a good season here. From September to November, conditions remained favorable for locusts. Due to which it can breed thrice in 90 days of life and their number increased to 16 thousand times. At the same time, this problem was further aggravated by Western disturbance.
Ability to change behavior and habit
Locusts in sandy areas differ from other locusts. They have the ability to change their behavior and habits and reach far and wide. Adults eat a content equal to two grams of their weight in food daily. A small herd of locusts (or about one ton of locusts) eats 2500 people a day, which consists of tree, plants, and crops. They do not attack people and do not bring diseases.
Dead locusts start rotting in 2-3 days
In many states of the country, questions are being raised about the disposal of locusts after killing them with pesticides. In such a situation, agricultural scientists say that locusts that die in thousands, start rotting in two to three days. If the farmers want, they can be collected and buried in the pit.
Avinash Chaturvedi, Assistant Director of Agriculture, Bhopal, said that pesticides are used to control locusts. Locusts die from this. Ravi Kumar Chhapra, Assistant Vegetable Conservation Authority of the Central Government, says that dead locusts are destroyed (de-composted) in two to three days. If locusts are seen at the time of the sowing of crops, then they are added to the soil during the barn. Farmers can collect them and put them in pits and also suppress them with soil. They do not cause any damage to the land.