UDAIPUR: The agriculture department here has started preparations to tackle a possible locust attack considering the dreadful conditions in western parts of the state.
Chemical sprays and other equipment have been procured for distribution in the affected areas if swarms enter the southern districts. “In December last, we dealt with a huge swarm of locusts that damaged some 100-125 hectares in Kotra block of Udaipur. Some days ago, farmers reported the presence of a small group in Jhadol block but luckily the insects changed their path and flew away to Madhya Pradesh. However, we anticipate a possible attack in the coming weeks which may be severe than the winter experience because the insects travel much faster during summer with the wind velocity and can cover up to 200 kilometers a day,” joint director, agriculture, Mahesh Verma said. The favourable breeding conditions of locusts in the neighboring country too has triggered the fear of a massive invasion in the coming days.
The department has alerted the agriculture observers on field postings, farmers as well as the forest officials to keep a watch in the area. “We will be outsourcing experts and hiring drones to monitor the insects entry. If deemed necessary, we would also request for a helicopter for aerial spray of chemicals in tough and hilly terrains where it is difficult to reach through vehicles,” Verma said.