Agriculture Minister Tomar flags off chopper for locust control ops

[Greater Noida: A helicopter, well equipped for the aerial spray to eliminate the swarms of locusts, takes off after its flag-off ceremony by Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar (unseen), in Greater Noida, Tuesday, June 30, 2020. ( /PTI] Greater Noida, June 30 : Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday flagged off a chopper, well equipped for the aerial spray of pesticides, from a helipad in Greater Noida to eliminate the swarms of locusts, the migratory pests entering into the country from Pakistan. Tomar said that a helicopter has been deployed for the first time in the country for locust control operation which will help destroy the swarms of locusts effectively; however, drones are already being used for aerial spray. He said that four more helicopters of the Indian Air Force will be deployed in the coming days for locust control operations as the required equipment to be fitted to the helicopters for aerial spray have been received. He said that despite several obstacles caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has allowed aerial spray of pesticides through drones, helicopters and aircraft. The private helicopter took off from a helipad located at 22 Ecotech-II, Udyog Vihar, Greater Noida, for the Air Force Station in Uttarlai in Barmer, Rajasthan, where it will be deployed for locust control in the desert areas of Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur and Nagaur, as per the protocol. The helicopter with a pesticide carrying capacity of 250 litre in one trip can cover about 25 to 50 hectares of area in one flight. Barmer MP and Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Kailash Chaudhary, was also present on the occasion. Locust control operations are being carried out in over 100 districts of nine states. Sixty ground spray equipment were ordered from the Uk of which 15 were received in June, and the remaining 45 are expected to arrive next month. Presently, 60 control teams with spray equipment mounted vehicles and more than 200 Central government personnel are engaged in locust control operations. Tomar said that 55 additional vehicles have been purchased to strengthen locust control capabilities. /IANS


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