- Thousands of locusts were seen covering the sky near Cyber Hub area
- The Haryana government has issued a high alert
- Residents were asked to keep their house windows shut amid locust attack
Swarms of crop-destroying desert locusts have reached the outskirts of Delhi after entering Gurugram this morning. Multiple videos shot by residents of Gurugram city and villages in the district this morning show massive clusters of locusts flying in.
Thousands of locusts were seen covering the sky near the Cyber Hub area of Gurugram. Similarly, videos from Delhi's Chhatrapur showed swarms of locusts flying in.
The Haryana government has issued a high alert after locusts entered Rewari and Gurugram districts, with officials saying that all necessary measures have been taken, including deploying tractor-mounted spraying facilities, according to news agency PTI.
Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai called an emergency meeting to discuss the situation following the locust attack in neighbouring Gurugram. The minister also directed the administration to be alert, an official said.
The Delhi government in an advisory asked people to keep their windows closed and if possible cover plants at home with plastic sheets. It asked residents to apply household insecticides like melathion or chloropyriphos at night since locusts don't fly after sundown.
"As per the information we're getting, the swarms of locusts are headed towards Palwal (in Haryana). But a small portion has entered Jasola and Bhati (at Delhi border). An instruction as been issued to beat dhols and drums. This is a way to ward them off... the government will issue an advisory on this," Mr Rai said after the meeting.
The District Magistrates of South, West and South West districts in Delhi have been asked to be on high alert. The administration of Noida in Uttar Pradesh, that neighbours Delhi, has issued a similar advisory.
Gurugram residents were last evening asked to keep their windows shut as precaution against a locust attack by the city administration as a swarm was sighted in an adjoining district.
The administration has asked residents to make clanging noises by beating utensils to ward the insects off.
"The swarm of locusts started around 11:00am. We immediately closed the windows and doors, and the society administration started bellowing hooters installed on buildings to drive away the insects," says Rita Sharma, a resident of Beverly Park 2 at MG Road in Gurugram.
"Farmers must also keep their pumps (for insecticide spray) ready so that they can be used when needed," the Gurugram administration had said.
The administration has asked employees of agriculture department to spread awareness on locusts in villages.
The Delhi Air Traffic Control has directed pilots of all airlines to take necessary precautions during landing and take-off of aircraft in view of locust swarms seen near the airport in areas along Gurugram-Dwarka Expressway, according to news agency ANI.
Massive swarms of desert locusts have been destroying crops in many parts of western and central India, spearing into Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab now, after Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana.
The central government has set up 11 control rooms to coordinate the response.
Last month, Haryana Chief Secretary Keshni Anand Arora had directed the Agriculture department and district administrations to take all necessary precautions in advance to tackle any potential attack of locust swarms in the state.
Locusts form swarms in Africa and fly from Iran, Pakistan to India. They are known to have an enormous appetite. They eat plants and can wreck massive damage to crops in days if left unchecked.
(With inputs from agencies)