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Swarms of locusts attack UP, officials warn neighbouring districts

Lucknow: As if the already persisting issues weren’t enough, more locust attacks have been reported from many districts of Uttar Pradesh including Jhansi, Chitrakoot, Prayagraj, Pratapgarh, Bhadohi, Azamgarh and Ambedkar Nagar. These have been received in the last 48 hours.

The districts of Uttar Pradesh have got filled with locust swarms destroying several trees and crops as they charge further entering various areas in the past two days.

The UP Agriculture Department said that the authorities of the neighbouring districts like Hamirpur, Banda, Fatehpur, Kaushambhi, Mirzapur, Sultanpur, Mau and Balliahave received warnings to stay alert on the attacks.

UP’s state Agriculture Minister’s native district Deoria has also been seeing severe locust invasions. The minister Surya PratapShahi’s home district is situated in the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh.

“A swarm of locusts had come to Deoria, but they descended only on the BaisilaMainuddin village. Villagers made noise and chased them away. The swarm has gone towards Kushinagar. We are spraying chemicals to kill the pests and all districts have been put on alert,” he said on Sunday.

According to the Minister, the fire department automobiles are getting sprayed with insecticides to battle the locusts.

People have been told to make loud noise by beating ‘thaalis’ and other utensils, he said. Police sirens will also be blared and smoke would be used to chase the locusts away.

The minister said that, “The UP government has given Rs five lakh to each of the bordering districts of the state for spraying chemicals to kill locusts. Apart from this, a monitoring committee has been formed in each district under the chief development officer to continuously monitor the situation.”

Deoria District Magistrate Amit Kishor said a swarm spotted in the district has now moved to Kushinagar.

As the monsoon season has kickstarted in the state, Jodhpur-based Locust Warning Organisation (LWO) has hastened and intensified ways to control the number of locusts that are flying in the deserted places between India and our next neighbourPakistan. Both of these countries are now a breeding hotspots for the insects which are creating havoc with their movement.

According to experts, four categories of locusts are found in the country namely, desert locust, migratory locust, Bombay locust and tree locust. The most destructive of all is considered to be the desert locust. It can multiply it’s population rapidly and can travel for over 150 kilometer in a day.

This pest, a variant of grasshopper, can eat more than its body weight. A one square kilometre of locust swarm having naroun 40 million locusts, can eat as much food as 35,000 people per day.

Experts say that the increasing number of desert locusts is due to the change in the weather. They say it’s breeding is related directly to soil moisture and food availability in the surrounding area.