On 30th June 2020, a Bell 206-B3 Helicopter was flagged off with spray equipment for Air Force Station in Rajasthan’s Barmer from the helipad facility in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Buddh Nagar. Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar flagged off the Helicopter.

The Helicopter will be deployed for locust control in the desert areas of Rajasthan. Districts that the Helicopter will cover are Nagaur, Jodhpur, Barmer, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, and Jodhpur.

The Helicopter will be able to cover about 25 to 50-hectare area in one flight. In a single flight, it will have the capacity to carry 250 liters of pesticide.

Objective of the Helicopter Operation

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned last week that the Desert Locusts may breed in the semi-arid/desert regions of Rajasthan as the monsoon rains will make it suitable for them to breed.

The bell helicopter will work towards reaching areas in the desert that is not easily accessible through drones and spray mounted vehicles.

Locust Control Operations

From 11th April to 28th June 2020, a total of 2,33,487 hectares of land has been covered under locust control operations in 9 states of India. In terms of crop loss, only from the state of Rajasthan, there have been reports of minor crop losses.

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