The possibility of a locust attack in the national capital is low but that could change if wind direction becomes favourable for their transport, according to Locust Warning Organisation (LWO), a body under the Ministry of Agriculture .
The deputy director of LWO, K L Gurjar, told The Indian Express on Thursday that five to six swarms of locusts were active in parts of Rajasthan and one or two were active in some areas of Madhya Pradesh. “For the locusts to move towards Delhi from Rajasthan, the wind has to blow from west to east. But at present, the wind direction over Delhi is from the east. The population of locusts in MP is not very high and, therefore, they won’t be able travel to Delhi. Efforts are also underway to control them there,” said Gurjar.
The Delhi government, meanwhile, has issued an advisory with a list of preventive measures for a “probable locust attack.” Delhi Cabinet Minister for Development Gopal Rai on Thursday said the advisory has been sent to authorities, including the three municipal corporations, district magistrates and revenue commissioners.
He said, “Not only agriculture, the horticulture sector too gets affected by locusts. I have met senior officials of the department and am personally monitoring the preparedness. ”
In the advisory, issued on Wednesday, the administration mentioned precautions including ensuring that locusts are not allowed to rest. “Swarms usually fly in day time, and rest during night time. Therefore, locusts should not be allowed to rest, especially during the night,” the advisory read.
The circular listed four chemicals — Melathion 50% EC, Melathion 25% WP, Chloropyriphos 20% EC and Chloropyriphos 50% EC — that can be diluted in water and used as pesticides to spray.
Pesticides would kill the locusts, but they can only be sprayed when the swarm is at rest in the evening, said Gurjar. As of late afternoon Thursday, there was a possibility of the swarm moving towards Bhatinda in Punjab from Rajasthan.
S Chelliah, director of horticulture at the New Delhi Municipal Council, said “Locusts prefer small leaves of agricultural crops. Leaves of trees, shrubs and climbers are harder for them to eat. They would cause damage if they arrive here, but it would be very little to our green spaces.”
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