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Now, drones and planes to fight locust menace in Rajasthan

Jaipur, May 25 (IANS) It is for the first time that drones and planes will be used to fight the locust attack in Rajasthan, said B.R. Karwa, project director, Agricultural Technology Management Agency, here on Monday.

The locusts have changed their attack strategy this season and are flying at great height against their basic nature to fly in the low lying areas. Hence, Union minister for agriculture Kailash Chowdhary has requested the DGCA to help the government with planes which can fight the locust menace from a height by spraying pesticides, he informed.

Also, the Rajasthan government is considering tenders so that drones can be used in countering the locust menace, he said.

On Monday morning, the residents of Jaipur woke up to a sudden attack by a swarm of locusts which invaded many parts of the city. The attack was not limited to one colony but was seen in many areas of the city which left the residents surprised.

Officials said that it is for the first time that locusts have invaded residential areas of the city in the summer months.

Karwa said that the locusts entered Jaipur in the winter of 1993 and it is after three decades, that they have attacked the city in summer.

When asked if there has been any crop loss with the locusts attacking crops this season, he said “As there are no standing crops in the fields, there is no loss in this season. However, we are adopting newer measures to check any loss in the coming seasons.”

Meanwhile, officials of the agriculture department have blamed the neighbouring nation Pakistan alleging that it is preferring to sit idly by instead of taking any action to control the locusts as these insects have made the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan their breeding centres.

Earlier, the breeding centres of locusts were African nations and hence they used to take time to reach India. However, now with the Pak-Afghan border becoming their breeding centre, they are entering Rajasthan from Pakistan.

–IANS

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