A new swarm of locusts entered Rajasthan's Jaisalmer on Sunday, officials said Monday. This is the fifth swarm to enter the state in four days from its western border with Pakistan.
Since the first locust swarm invaded the state's Sriganganagar district from Pakistan's Baluchistan on April 11, as many as 25 swarms have entered Rajasthan, said Locust Warning Office deputy director L K Gurjar.
"It was a small swarm, and spread across 1km-by-1km," Suwa Lal Jat, joint director of plant protection in Rajasthan's agriculture department said on Monday.
"On May 30, three swarms came from Pakistan into Ganganagar, Bikaner and Jodhpur; earlier, a swarm entered Hanumangarh on May 26," he said.
On Sunday evening, a swarm also entered two villages of Chhattisgarh in Koriya district bordering Madhya Pradesh after which agriculture departments in Jharkhand and Odisha issued advisories to farmers asking them to be in high alert.
Koriya district collector DM Rathore said, "On Sunday, it was small swarm and we managed to contain their movement by spraying chemicals and using sirens of fire brigades. Most of them have died. We have not been affected till now."
On May 27, the Chhattisgarh agriculture department and farmers in districts bordering Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra were alerted after swarms of locusts attacked crops in the neighbouring states.
"Every bordering district of Chhattisgarh is on alert," said Principal Secretary Agriculture Maninder Kaur Dwivedi. "Earlier Bhandara (Maharashtra) locust swarm was expected to arrive in Kawadha district but the wind changed direction so it went towards Nagpur. On Friday, a swarm of locust which was reported in Balaghat and Mandla districts of (Madhya Pradesh) and it went towards Mirzapur (Uttar Pradesh). On Sunday one of swarms reached Koriya," he said.
According to the agriculture ministry, locusts have so far damaged crops in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Chhattisgarh. Another 12 states have been asked to be on alert and prepare for locust control measures.
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