Drones, Imported Machines To Be Used Against Locusts: Agriculture Minister

Narendra Singh Tomar said the government is hopeful of completely repulsing attacks by locusts by September-end.

Drones, Imported Machines To Be Used Against Locusts: Agriculture Minister

The minister said some specialised machines will be imported by the Centre. (Representational)

Gwalior:

The Central government has devised a plan to use drones and specialised imported machines against locusts which have started damaging crops in some states, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Tuesday.

He said the government is hopeful of completely repulsing attacks by locusts by September-end.

"A plan is put in place to use drones to fight off locusts which are damaging crops in some parts of the country," Mr Tomar said, adding that pesticides will be sprayed using drones.

Speaking to reporters via video conference, he said some specialised machines will be imported by the Central government.

"Delivery of these machines was expected to start by June end. Whilesome of them were expected to be delivered from England by now, they could not reach India due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown," Mr Tomar said.

He said these machines would now be delivered by July-end.

"They would help in rapid controlling of locusts," Mr Tomar said.

"We are hopeful to completely stop attacks by locusts by September-end," Mr Tomar said.

He also said that timely information on the movement of swarms of locusts came handy for government, and that efforts to contain the flying pests have already started.

Mr Tomar said swarms of locusts have started damaging crops in some parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, but the Central and state governments have joined hands to fight against this menace.

"The Central and state governments have saved crops spread over an area of 57,000 hectares in the country from locusts," he added.

Damage caused by desert locusts would be assessed by various state governments, which will send their reports to the Central government for compensation to farmers.

Swarms of locusts had entered India from Rajasthan and flew to different states.

Neighbouring Maharashtra already announced that it would use drones to spray insecticides on locusts.