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Swarms of locusts reach Gurugram, likely to spare Delhi for now

The crop-destroying swarms first attacked Rajasthan and then spread to Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh

Gurgaon | Pesticides | Locust attack

Press Trust of India  |  Gurugram/New Delhi 

locusts, GURUGRAM
The skies over many parts of Gurugram turned dark as swarms of locusts descended on the city. PHOTO: PTI

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 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 "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 in the northern states.

Delhi govt puts all districts on high alert

Despite assurances by officials about the low chance of a in the Capital, the Delhi government on Saturday put all districts on high alert and asked the district magistrates to coordinate with the fire department for spraying of and insecticides to prevent a possible attack of crop-destroying locusts in the Capital, after their swarms descended on neighbouring Gurugram. An advisory issued by the Delhi development commissioner said that residents can distract the locusts by making high-decibel sound through beating of drums, utensils; playing high-volume music, bursting crackers, and burning neem leaves. The advisory asked the people to keep doors and windows closed and cover outdoor plants with plastic sheets. The district magistrates have also been advised to deploy adequate staff to make villagers and residents aware of these measure. PTI Amit Shah, arvind kejriwal, coronavirus, hospitals, medics, health care workers, doctors, nurses Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal visited a newly set-up Covid-19 care facility with over 10,000 beds and reviewed arrangements on Saturday. PHOTO: PTI Covid-19 Updates
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First Published: Sat, June 27 2020. 12:54 IST