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Swarm of desert locusts reach Gurgaon, Delhi on high alert | 10 points

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Huge swarms of locust reached Gurgaon on Saturday morning and covered large tracts of the region in Haryana. Several areas in Gurgaon saw swarms of locust covering the skies on Saturday. A high alert has been issued in adjoining districts of Delhi as well.

Various parts of Gurgaon, including the plush residential complexes, were covered by swarms of locust as residents of these highrise buildings started sharing images and videos of the locust attack.

Here’s all you need to know about current status of locust attack in 10 points:

1. Locust clouds over Gururgram

The skies over many parts of Gurugram turned dark on Saturday as swarms of locusts descended on the town. The dark cloud of locusts, spread across two kilometres, crossed the suburban city, touched the Delhi-Gurugram border but did not enter Delhi.

Even the busy MG Road and IFFCO Chowk areas of Gurgaon were covered with locust swarms. DLF Phase I-IV, Village Chakkarpur, Sikandarpur and Sukhrali areas in Gurgaon were also covered in locust swarms.

District administration in the adjoining districts of Delhi issued an alert. Villagers of South West District of Delhi were trained a few days ago. The South West District Magistrate has said they were aware of a possible locust attack in the region for three days and have issued an alert in the local areas.

2. Haryana issues alert after swarms of locusts enter Rewari, Gurgaon districts

The Haryana government issued a high alert after a swarm of locusts entered Rewari and Gurgaon districts, with officials on Saturday asserting that all necessary measures have been taken, including deploying tractor-mounted spraying facilities.

Swarms of locusts from Rajasthan after passing through Mahendragarh district of Haryana settled in various villages of Jatusana and Khol blocks in Rewari district on Friday evening.

On Saturday, they went towards Jhajjar and entered Gurgaon district with insects covering the skyline in some parts of the “millennium city”.

Alarmed at the invasion of the locusts, which settled on trees, rooftops and plants, many residents of Gurgaon shared videos from their high-rise perches.

3. Delhi environment minister asks South Delhi, West Delhi to remain on high alert

After swarms of locusts descended on neighbouring Gurgaon, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai in a meeting on Saturday asked the national capital’s south and west districts’ administrations to remain on high alert.

According to an official who attended the meeting, the minister was informed that a small swarm of locusts has also reached the Asola Bhatti area in South Delhi.

The Agriculture Department has been asked to issue a detailed advisory to all district magistrates and sub-divisional magistrates to deal with a possible locust attack in Delhi.

4. Make high decibel sound to chase away locusts: Delhi govt issues advisory

The Delhi government has asked Forest Department to play DJs, beat drums and dhols to repel the swarms of locusts.

In an advisory, the Delhi government has advised the district magistrates to deploy the adequate staff to make all possible arrangements in the villages for guiding villagers and residents to distract the locusts “by way of making high decibel sound” through beating of drums, utensils, playing high volume music on music system/DJs, firecrackers, burning of Neem leaves and other similar measures.

5. Delhi environment minister calls emergency meeting

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Saturday called an emergency meeting to discuss the situation following a locust attack in neighbouring Gurugram.

The minister also directed the administration to be alert, an official said.

“After the emergency meeting, an advisory will be issued on steps to be taken to deal with the situation,” Rai said.

He asked the officials of the Agriculture Department to make field visits to areas close to Gurugram.

6. Locusts likely to spare Delhi

Even though the locusts entered Delhi’s neighbouring Gurgaon, officials said that the migratory pests are likely to spare the national capital for now.

The dark cloud of locusts, spread across two kilometres, crossed the suburban city, touched the Delhi-Gurugram border but did not enter Delhi.

“The swarms moved from west to east. They entered Gurugram around 11.30 am,” K L Gurjar of the Locust Warning Organisation, Ministry of Agriculture, said.

The pests, he said, were headed towards Palwal in Haryana.

7. Operations at Delhi Airport normal

Officials said that the operations at the Delhi airport are normal and have not been impacted by the locust attack in the adjoining area.

However, the Air Traffic Control (ATC) has issued an advisory for pilots to stay on high alert.

8. ATC asks pilots to be on high alert

The Air Traffic Control (ATC) on Saturday directed pilots of all airlines to stay on high alert and 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.

A team has been set up to monitor the situation.

“Pilots of all airlines have been warned about the locust seen near the airport, we have set up a team to monitor in view of the locust,” a senior ATC official said.

On Friday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation had issued an operations circular over locusts to generate awareness amongst the aviation fraternity on the risks of flying through locust swarms.

Stating that generally locusts are found at lower levels and therefore pose a threat to aircraft during landings and take-offs, the DGCA warned that “almost all air intake ports of the aircraft will be prone to ingestion in large numbers if the aircraft flies through a swarm.”

9. Rahul demands support from Centre for farmers

After the locust attack in Gurgaon on Saturday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi sought support from the Centre to the states and the farmers who have experienced the devastating locust attack.

“Locusts have destroyed crops in Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, UP, MP, Gujarat and Maharashtra. GOI must provide support to the states and farmers who have suffered this menace,” the Congress leader wrote on Twitter.

10. Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda demands compensation for farmers

Former Haryana Chief Minister and Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda demanded compensation for farmers who have been hit by the locust attacks.

“The locusts have caused extensive damage in many districts of the state. Mahendragarh, Rewari, Jhajjar, Gurugram, and Mewat have suffered heavy losses due to the locust attack,” Hooda said.

He also hit out at the Haryana government asking why was it not prepared beforehand when it already knew the locusts were on their way to the state.

(With inputs from Pankaj Jain and PTI)

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