Delhi on High Alert after Swarms of Desert Locusts Reach OutskirtsTop Stories

June 29, 2020 16:45
Delhi on High Alert after Swarms of Desert Locusts Reach Outskirts

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A high alert was declared in Delhi by Environment Minister Gopal Rai after desert locusts reach outskirts of the city crossing Gurugram.

According to officials, a swarm of locusts of 3 kilometers in length crossed Gurugram and reached Delhi outskirts on Saturday.

The city of put on high alert by the Environment minister and an emergency meeting was held to discuss the situation.

The Gurugram administration and residents made loud noises and sounds using sirens and horns to prevent the locusts from dwelling on their crops and vegetation.

“Besides we have been spraying chemicals through vehicle-mounted pump sets in rural areas”, said Amit Khatri, Gurugram Deputy Commissioner (DC).

At the same time, Delhi environment minister has called for an emergency meeting on tackling the situation if locusts enter the city. He advised Delhi’s south and west districts’ administrations to be on high alert.

He has also asked the officials of Agriculture department to make field visits in areas close to Gurugram.

Delhi Air Traffic Control (DAC) on the same day instructed the pilots of all airlines to take precautions while landing and take-off as some locusts are seen across of airport areas along Gurugram Dwaraka expressway. Also, a team has been deployed to monitor the situation.

However, some other administrations in Delhi expressed their disagreements on swarms of locusts entering Delhi as they are flying across Gurugram city in the west and east directions only.

The locust attack has damaged parts of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and few other states and areas in a month.

The locusts first entered India from north-west area of Pakistan. Some people have claimed that it was a deliberate attack by Pakistan, officials deny it.

Experts say that young locusts are far more dangerous than the older ones as the older ones can only travel a few kilometers while the younger ones can travel up to 150 kilometers in a day and have the capacity to destroy more vegetation.

Experts have a conviction that this locust invasion into the country was a result of residue population that survived after February 17, 2020 in the deserts of Pakistan and Iran.

After 1993, locusts, for the first time have invaded Pakistan on May 27, 2019. Locust controlling team thought they could finish the locust population by October 2019 but there was a steady stream of locust population entering Pakistan till February 2020.

However, pertaining a threat to Delhi residents, the government has advised residents to keep their doors and windows shut, cover their outdoor plants with a plastic sheet and those spraying insecticides like malathion or chlorpyrifos must ensure wearing their PPE kits.

It has also advised the district magistrates to ensure additional staff is hired to make announcements to the villagers on measures to distract the locusts like, playing high volume music, bursting crackers and burning neem leaves. This would make the locusts change their path or some of them can even be killed.

The fire department of Delhi has been alerted to spray chemicals to save the crops and vegetation from locust attacks.

As a fun fact, residents of Gurugram have been recording videos of locusts in their areas and sharing on social media.

By Gayatri Yellayi

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Locust attack  Delhi  Gurugram