IAF joins locust control operations in Rajasthan

With no respite from the onslaught of crop-damaging locusts, an Indian Air Force’s Mi-17 helicopter has been swung into action to spray pesticides over large swathes of desert land in Jodhpur district on Sunday, the first such instance in the history of the air force.

A private helicopter, hired by the Agriculture Ministry, had started locust control operations on Saturday carrying out its first sortie in the desert areas of Banda in Jaisalmer.

Centre has stepped up efforts and is using the latest technology and equipment like drones and Bell helicopters to control the menace.

India is facing the worst-ever locust attacks in three decades. Swarms of the marauding pests have been witnessed in various districts of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has said that India should remain on “high ” during the next four weeks. It said, locust swarms that have traveled as far as Nepal are expected to return to Rajasthan and join other swarms coming from Pakistan and Iran for the breeding season this month.