Soon after attacking districts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, an army of locusts has now reached Uttar Pradesh. According to details, Agra and Jhansi in the state which has further prompted the government to declare a state-wide alert. India had first reported a locust attack in the second week of April when the pests had made entry into Rajasthan from Pakistan. In Uttar Pradesh, locusts are feared to affect 17 districts — Agra, Aligarh, Mathura, Bulandshahr, Hathras, Etah, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etawah, Farrukhabad, Auraiya, Jalaun, Kanpur, Jhansi, Mahoba, Hamirpur and Lalitpur.
According to Uttar Pradesh agriculture department officials, a big swarm of locusts can eat acres of the crop within an hour. To deal with the situation, Uttar Pradesh’s agriculture department has launched a massive drive to educate farmers on how to keep the locust menace at a bay.
In Agra, the district administration has deployed 204 tractors mounted with chemical sprays.
On May 20, swarms of locusts were spotted in the Dausa district of Rajasthan. In five days, they had covered a distance of around 200km to reach Dausa from Ajmer. Now, the pests have entered UP.
In Madhya Pradesh locust swarms have wreaked havoc in at least 12 districts, destroying standing crops in the largest such attack in a decade.
The swarms first entered Mandsaur and Neemuch on May 17 and then swept into 10 more districts. Mandsaur, Neemuch, Ratlam, Ujjain, Dewas, Shajapur Indore, Khargone, Morena and Sheopur have been the worst-hit.
Locusts reach Jhansi, officials on alert
Meanwhile, authorities in Jhansi have issued an alert after a sudden movement of a swarm of locusts spotted on the outskirts of Jhansi district on Saturday evening.
The Jhansi district administration has directed the fire brigades to remain on standby with chemicals following a sudden movement by a swarm of locusts.
District Magistrate Andra Vamsi, who chaired an emergency meeting in this regard said, "The villagers along with the common public has been told to inform control room about the movement. The locusts will go to the places where there is green grass or greenery. Hence, details about the movement at such places must be shared."
Deputy Director Agriculture Kamal Katiyar said, "The swarm of locusts, which is moving is small in size. We have got the news that nearly 2.5 to a 3-kilometre long swarm of locusts has entered the country. A team has come from Kota (Rajasthan) to tackle the locusts."
At present, the locust swarm is at Bangra Magarpur.
Katiyar said that farmers had been made aware of the problem and spraying of insecticides will be done in the night.