Locusts invade Maharashtra, Rajasthan, MP; alert in Delhi

New Delhi: More parts of India are under locust attack now. The migratory pests have invaded eastern Maharashtra where four to five villages have come under attack from the locusts.

The Union Environment Ministry had already warned in a statement last week that locust swarms have entered Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. There is an alert for national capital Delhi.

Locusts normally affect districts in western Rajasthan but this time the swarms have travelled as far as Jaipur city. The swarms later headed towards Dausa district.

The swarms are travelling farther and damaging trees as there are no standing crops for them to feed on, an official said.

In Jaipur’s Murlipura and Vidhyadhar Nagar areas, people beat ”thalis’ at the locusts that had settled on walls and trees, hoping to make them move on.

“The menace of locust has spread to 18 districts of Rajasthan and they are rapidly travelling in search of food,” Om Prakash, the Commissioner of State agriculture department, told PTI.

He said the swarms were in Nagaur and reached Jaipur and nearby areas on Sunday. They were seen in residential areas of the city on Monday and then they moved towards Dausa, Prakash said.

“There is no standing crop on ground so they are staying on large trees and moving fast. Locust control teams conducted operations by sprinkling pesticide in Jaipur last night and today remaining swarms have moved towards Dausa,” he said.

Centre’s Locust Warning Organisation in Jodhpur and the state agriculture department are working in coordination to handle the locust attack issue.

The latest such attack occurred on 11 April when the swarms entered from Pakistan and damaged cotton crops in Ganganagar to some extent.

The swarms later travelled to various other districts and have now crossed Jaipur. Rajasthan Agriculture Minister Lalchand Kataria conducted field visit and met the farmers.

The Director of agriculture department informed that 200 teams are working in the field to monitor the movement of locusts and nearly 800 tractor-mounted sprayers are being used. He said, fire department is also involved in the operations against the locusts.

Prakash said the swarms have covered almost 54,000 hectare area in the state this time and containment operations were conducted in 40,000 hectare area.


NT Bureau