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Drones and Helicopters to be used to Fight Locusts

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
Saumy Deepak Tripathi

Union Agricultural Minister Narendra Singh Tomar held a meeting with both the Ministers of State for Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare Parshottam Rupala and Kailash Choudhary and Secretary(DAC&FW) Sanjay Agarwal to review the Locust Control Operations. The locust attacks have come at a time when India is already battling with the COVID-19 crisis. 

 

The government plans to fight this crisis by exporting 60 sprayers, 15 of which will arrive in the next 15 days from Britain. In addition, drones will be used to spray pesticides and plans to deploy helicopters for aerial spray is also being explored. 

 

A total of 11 Regional Control Rooms have been established to monitor the situation. 21 micronair and 26 Ulvamast are being used by locust control officials while temporary camps have been set up in Jaipur, Chittorgarh, Dausa in Rajasthan, Sheopur, Neemuch, Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh and Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. 

 

Since the areas estimated to be affected is more than 50000 hectares and many areas are inaccessible the Minister of Civil Aviation on May 21 approved “Conditional exemption to Government entity(DPPQS) for use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System for anti locust operation”. 

The operation is being run with close co-ordination between State Agriculture Departments, Local Administration and BSF. the operations are being done in the morning hours. The administration has said that since the locusts are very active and mobile it is difficult to control them at one place and it takes four to five days to fully control them. 

Locust attacks have been reported in Pakistan, Iran and East Africa also. It is said that favourable climate conditions have helped them to grow and annual operations to control them were hampered this time due to the countries battling the COVID-19 crisis. Experts have said that if the attack persists it could lead to a food security problem. 

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