To control locust swarms and prevent losses due to crop damage, Haryana agriculture and farmers’ welfare department will deploy two drones in Hisar and Mahendragarh on Thursday evening.
These drones can be deployed in other affected areas as well, if required, the additional chief secretary, agriculture and farmers’ welfare department, Sanjeev Kaushal, said adding that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had given clearance for deploying the drones.
He said that tender had also been issued for engaging five more drones with minimum pay load capacity of 10 litres and flight operation capacity of at least four hours every day and for undertaking aerial spray operation in affected areas.
These drones could be deployed for spraying in fields, community land, sand dunes, tree tops, acacia plantation, or any other affected area, as required by the department.
Haryana is the third state after Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to have engaged drone-based anti-locust operations. There are two methods of spraying the pesticide — one by flying above the swarm of locusts and spraying on them and the other is to spray the pesticide beforehand on the areas where the locusts are expected to land.
Kaushal said the Department was putting in place several measures to control the swarms, including stocking additional quantities of pesticide Lamda Cyhalothrin 5 EC, deploying tractor-mounted spray pumps, and acquiring fogging machines.
The preparatory measures have so far prevented significant losses in most areas during locust attacks in districts Jhajjar, Charkhi Dadri, Palwal, Sirsa, Nuh, Rewari, Bhiwani and Narnaul since 26 June, he said.
Kaushal said the Department was closely monitoring the situation, and urged farmers in the affected districts to stay alert and inform the officials if they found locusts anywhere.
At least six districts including Hisar, Sirsa, Bhiwani Mahendergarh, Rewari, and Jhajjar are on alert over swarms of locusts entering the state from Rajasthan. Swarms of locusts recently entered five Haryaa districts – Mahendergarh, Rewari, Jhajjar, Sisra, Charkhi Dadri and Bhiwani, causing about 15 per cent damage to crops, primarily pearl millet (bajra).