Haryana govt hires drones for spraying pesticide on locust swarms
Jul. 31, 2020
The Haryana Government is prepared to deal with locust attacks and has hired drones for spraying pesticide if needed, state Agriculture Minister JP Dalal said on Thursday.
The minister told the farmers that they need not worry about the locust attacks, but cautioned them to stay vigilant.
During the past few days, small swarms of locusts have been spotted in some districts of Haryana, including Sirsa which borders Rajasthan.
Speaking to reporters in Bhiwani, Dalal said there are enough stocks of pesticides and all necessary arrangements are in place to deal with the threat posed by locusts.
Dalal also said, “We have hired drones and we will use them wherever the need is felt. Also, if need arises, we will get pesticides sprayed even by helicopters.”
He said tractor-mounted spraying guns will be mostly used to eliminate the insects.
Dalal said the Centre had recently issued an advisory warning of more locusts attacks this year. The minister said as large swarms of locusts had entered Rajasthan they could enter neighbouring Haryana after breeding.
Meanwhile, the Haryana agriculture department has decided to deploy two drones in Hisar and Mahendragarh districts by Thursday evening.
These drones can be deployed in other affected areas as well, if required, said Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Department, Sanjeev Kaushal.
He said that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has given clearance for deploying the drones.
Kaushal said a tender had also been issued for engaging five more drones, with minimum pay load capacity of 10 litres and flight operation capacity of at least four hours every day, for undertaking aerial spray operation in affected areas.
These drones could be deployed for spraying in fields, community land, sand dunes, tree tops, acacia plantation, or any other affected area, as required by the department, he said.
Kaushal said the department was putting in place several measures to control the swarms of locusts, including stocking additional quantities of pesticide, deploying tractor-mounted spray pumps, and acquiring fogging machines.
The preparatory measures have so far prevented significant losses in most areas during locust attacks in Jhajjar, Charkhi Dadri, Palwal, Sirsa, Nuh, Rewari, Bhiwani and Narnaul since June 26, he said.
Kaushal assured that the department was closely monitoring the situation, and urged farmers in the affected districts to stay alert and inform the officials if they see locusts anywhere.
A fortnight ago, swarms of locusts had reached Sirsa, Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri and Mahendragarh districts.
Dalal had assured farmers that the government would take all necessary measures to control locust infestation in case the insects are spotted in any district and they will be compensated for their losses.
The farmers beat “thalis” (plates) and other utensils to drive away the insects and protect their crops, while administration and agriculture department officials deploy tractor-mounted spraying guns and other machinery to spray pesticides once the insects settle down in fields or on trees etc.
Last month, a huge swarm of locusts had reached Rewari from Rajasthan. While a part of the swarm settled overnight in the district, the remaining headed towards Gurgaon the next morning and eventually moved towards Uttar Pradesh.
Haryana had issued a high alert two months ago after swarms of locusts attacked crops in Rajasthan and a few other states.
Locusts, popularly known as “tiddi dal”, are short-horned grasshoppers with highly migratory habits and voracious feeding behaviour.
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