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Country faces its worst locust attack in 3 decades

After damaging crops in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, swarms of locusts entered Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi district Wednesday and could head towards Maharashtra’s Ramtek city amid what is being described as the worst attack in 27 years.

Punjab, usually unaffected by the menace, is also gearing up for the possibility of a locust attack.

“It is not a new problem and we had been facing it for a long time. This year, the locusts attack is the worst in 26 years,” said an official at the Faridabad-based Locust Warning Organisation.

According to the Union agriculture ministry, 21 districts in Rajasthan, 18 in Madhya Pradesh, two in Gujarat and one in Punjab have undertaken locust control measures till now.

Rajasthan on Wednesday deployed a drone to spray pesticide on locusts in Jaipur district’s Samod area and the Union ministry said it too is acquiring the machines.

The LWO official said there is a coordinated effort to contain the locust spread.

Earlier, locusts have been confined to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Since the insects are not finding enough food to survive, they are moving to other areas with the help of strong winds, he said.

According to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research Director General Trilochan Mohapatra, the insects have attacked about 40,000 hectares of land.

But there is no impact on rabi crops like wheat, pulses and oilseeds as most of them are harvested by now.

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