The Centre on Monday said locust control operations have been carried out in 3.70 lakh hectares area across 10 states since April 11, and minor crop losses have been reported in some districts of Rajasthan.
In a statement, the Union Agriculture Ministry said swarms of immature pink locusts and adult yellow locusts are active in districts of Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Churu, Ajmer, Sikar and Pali of Rajasthan and Rampur district of Uttar Pradesh.
Locust control operations were carried out in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Bihar from both locust circle offices (LCOs) and state agriculture departments, starting from April 11 till July 20, it said.
On July 19 night, control operations were carried out at 31 places in eight districts of Rajasthan and at one place in Rampur district of Uttar Pradesh.
Currently, 79 control teams with spray vehicles have been deputed in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Over 200 central government personnel are engaged in locust control operations, the ministry said.
Further, five companies with 15 drones have been deployed at Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Nagaur and Phalodi in Rajasthan for effective control of locusts on tall trees and in inaccessible areas through spraying of pesticides.
Aerial spraying capacity has been strengthened for anti-locust operations with deployment of a Bell helicopter in Rajasthan for use in Scheduled Desert Area as per the need and Indian Air Force has also conducted trials in anti-locust operation by using Mi-17 helicopter.
"No significant crop losses have been reported in the states of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Haryana. However, some minor crop losses have been reported in some districts of Rajasthan," the ministry said.
As per the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) July 13 update, more swarms are likely to form in northern Somalia in coming weeks and locust migration from northeast Somalia across the Indian Ocean to the summer breeding areas along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border could be imminent, the ministry said.
Weekly virtual meetings on Desert Locust of South-West Asian countries (Afghanistan, India, Iran and Pakistan) are being organized by FAO.
Around 15 virtual meetings of technical officers of South West Asian countries have taken place so far, it added.