A small swarm of locusts has entered south Delhi’s Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary area near the Haryana border and efforts were on to drive it away, Delhi Development Minister Gopal Rai said on Saturday afternoon.
The state forest department has been asked to sound dhols, drums, music through DJs and spray chemicals to control the swarm. Districts south, west and south west Delhi have also been put on high alert and the district magistrates asked to make preparations.
A large swarm had descended on Gurgaon earlier in the morning from Jhajjar district in Haryana and was moving towards Uttar Pradesh through Faridabad and Palwal, officials said.
In view of a possible attack on Delhi, Development Minister Rai held a meeting in the afternoon with the development secretary, divisional commissioner, and the director of agriculture and horticulture.
He said after the meeting, “A big swarm was slowly moving towards Palwal, Haryana, but a small group broke off and entered Asola Bhatti on the Delhi border, which is the forest department area. We immediately gave directions to the forest department to sound dhols, drums and DJs and to spray chemicals.”
Following the meeting, the Delhi government also issued an advisory that advised all district magistrates to remain on high alert and coordinate with fire department personnel for spraying prescribed pesticides.
The advisory directed the DMs to deploy adequate staff to make all possible arrangements, including guiding residents in villages to distract locusts by making “high decibel sound through beating of drums or utensils, playing high volume music on music system or DJs, firing crackers, burning of neem leaves and other similar measures.”
Keeping doors and windows closed, covering outdoor plants with plastic sheets, and spraying pesticides Melathion or Chloropyriphos at the swarm at night while wearing a PPE kit were also among the measures suggested in the advisory.
However, the deputy director of the Centre’s Locust Warning Organisation, K L Gurjar, said the swarm in Delhi would move away by the end of the day.
“It is in flying mode right now and would only settle down by evening. There’s still a lot of time for it to move out of Delhi. It would move towards Bulandshahr in UP. But if the wind direction changes then it could enter Delhi,” Gurjar said.
Development minister Rai said the swarm in Delhi was a small one and the government was monitoring the situation. “The wind direction is towards the south right now and if that changes then it’s possible the swarm could further enter into Delhi… We will also be in touch with Central government officials on this, so that if there’s any change in the swarm’s movement in Haryana we are updated,” he said.
The pesticides prescribed by the Delhi government in the advisory are Melathion 50% EC, Melathion 25% WP, Chloropyriphos 20% EC, Chloropyriphos 50% EC.
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