Locusts invade satellite city of India's capital

People posted pictures of the locusts on Twitter.
People posted pictures of the locusts on Twitter.PHOTO: @JASMINESACHDEV9/TWITTER

NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - Desert locusts on Saturday (June 27) invaded Gurugram, a satellite city of India's capital New Delhi, prompting the authorities to ask people to keep their windows shut and bang utensils to ward off the fast-spreading swarms.

Delhi's international airport, which borders Gurugram - home to some of the world's top corporations - has asked pilots to take extra precautions during takeoff and landing due to the locusts, Reuters partner ANI reported.

Gurugram has never faced a locust attack before.

Previous infestations have been mainly confined to some villages in the western state of Gujarat and Rajasthan in the north, which share a border with Pakistan's desert areas.

People posted pictures of the locusts on Twitter, with some criticising the government for not containing the outbreak.

"Locusts too are getting aware that unless they reach New Delhi, it doesn't become breaking news!," Devinder Sharma, an agricultural expert, said in a tweet.

India, which is battling its worst desert locust outbreak in decades, is using specialist vehicles and fire engines to spray insecticides in at least seven populous states in the north, centre and west of the country.

It has also bought a helicopter-mounted spray system to control the swarms in some key farm belts, as summer crop-sowing gathered pace with the arrival of the monsoon rains this month.

The locust infestation has not caused significant damage so far due to the lean season - the gap between the previous harvest and the next planting season - but farmers are worried about their summer crops.