The skies over many parts of Gurugram turned dark on Saturday as swarms of locusts descended on the town, but the migratory pests are likely to spare the national Capital for now, officials said. The dark cloud of locusts, spread across two kilometres, crossed the suburban city, touched the Delhi-Gurugram border but did not enter Delhi. “The swarms moved from west to east. They entered Gurugram around 11:30 am,” K L Gurjar of the Locust Warning Organisation, Ministry of Agriculture said. The pests, he said, were headed towards Palwal in Haryana. Alarmed at the invasion of the locusts, which settled on trees, rooftops and plants, many residents of Gurugram shared videos from their high-rise perches. Swarms of locusts were seen in condominiums such as Beverly Park, Garden Estate and Heritage City as well as buildings in Sikanderpur in the high-rise town bordering Delhi. In May, India battled a devastating desert locust outbreak. The crop-destroying swarms first attacked Rajasthan and then spread to Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. The Union agriculture ministry has ordered special teams from Rajasthan to control them. The teams will wait for darkness to fall before attacking them with plant chemicals as during the day time, the pests move quickly from region to another. In May, India battled a devastating desert locust outbreak. The crop-destroying swarms first attacked Rajasthan and then spread to Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh. According to experts, broadly four species of locusts are found in India — desert locust, migratory locust, Bombay locust and tree locust.
The desert locust is considered the most destructive.It multiplies very rapidly and is capable of covering 150 kilometers in a day. This insect, a type of a grasshopper, can eat more than its body weight. A one square kilometer of locust swarm containing around 40 million locusts can in a day eat as much food as 35,000 people. Experts blame the growing menace of desert locusts on climate change. They say breeding of locusts is directly related to soil moisture and food availability. Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday urged the government to grant compensation to states and farmers who have suffered damage to crops due to locust attack. "The Government Of India must provide support to the states and farmers who have suffered this menace,” he said on Twitter. He said this amid reports of damage to crops by locust attack in the northern states.