The skies over many parts of Gurugram turned dark on Saturday as swarms of locusts descended on the town, but the migratory pests are likely to spare the national capital for now, officials said.
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, told PTI. The pests, he said, were headed towards Palwal in Haryana.
Alarmed at the invasion of the locusts, which settled on trees, rooftops and plants, many residents of Gurugram shared videos from their high-rise perches.
Swarms of locusts were seen in condominiums such as Beverly Park, Garden Estate and Heritage City as well as buildings in Sikanderpur in the high-rise town bordering Delhi. In May, India battled a devastating desert locust outbreak. The crop-destroying swarms first attacked Rajasthan and then spread to Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
Swarms of locusts have attacked Hasteda village in Chomu where a farmer claimed that his crops were destroyed.
Sheeshpal, the farmer on Friday said, "Locusts have attacked our village for the fourth time. They have caused severe damage to our crops and cattle fodder. We appeal to the state government to provide us with some relief." Earlier on Wednesday, BR Kadwa, Deputy Director of Rajasthan Agriculture Department had said that the Centre is planning to use helicopters to control the locust swarms which are entering Rajasthan from Pakistan.
"Locust attack has been ongoing for 1.5 months. Rajasthan is one of the most affected states as some districts - Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Barmer, Ganganagar - share border with Pakistan from where locusts are entering other districts," Kadwa had said.
"Operations are on to control them. The issue is, we had killed older swarms but new swarms are coming now. The government of India says that Air Force helicopters will also be used to control it. Locusts have made border areas near Pakistan their breeding centres from where they're coming here and Pakistan is unable to control them," he had added.
The official had also said that with the fast-approaching monsoon season, the new swarms can also set up breeding grounds in the desert areas of the state which could further aggravate the problem.