Locusts, Covid-19, Delhi Government’s cup of woes runneth over

Curses of Biblical proportions are plaguing an already stressed Delhi Government led by Aravind Kejriwal.


The Chief Minister held a press conference to share how well prepared his government was to tackle the increasing number of Covid-19 cases. However, while he showcased the five-point plan of action, which he described as ‘weapons in the war against Covid-19’ he made no mention of another potential crisis darkening the delhi sky… literally. Swarms of locusts have made landfall, as it were, in neighbouring Gurugram, still better known as Gurgaon.

As residents of the Millenium city, that Gurugram is also lovingly called, began posting videos of swarms in the sky, and photos of the big creatures sitting calmly on plants, and railings, slight panic spread in the neighbouring areas of Delhi. 

In response the Delhi Government has announced a ‘high alert’ in South and West districts of the city. These areas are right next to Gurugram, in Haryana, and have a similar topography of vast green areas bordered by thickly populated residential colonies. Some of these areas also have small scale vegetable, fruit and flower farms like the neighbouring city of the National Capital Region. Haryana was said to be on alert since Friday and reported the arrival of swarms of locusts on Saturday noon. 

Gopal Rai, Delhi’s Minister for Environment, Development, Labour & Employment and General Administration said that the government of NCR Delhi had called an emergency meeting and issued an official alert on Saturday afternoon. He tweeted, “Keeping in view the possibility of locust attack in Delhi, the Development Secretary, Divisional Commissioner, Director Agriculture and Horticulture were instructed to take necessary steps. High alert to South and West District”

The Delhi government had last issued an advisory in the last week of May. The issue was nearly forgotten because the locust swarms were said to have ‘rerouted’. The minister has not elucidated what the ‘necessary steps are’. Meanwhile, residents of Chattarpur, right on the Delhi-Gurugram border also shared pics of locusts over the area which has many sprawling ‘farm houses’, next to some real farmland and urban villages: “#LocustsAttack images coming from Chattarpur in Delhi” posted the Twitter user. The picture speaks for itself.

A swarm is made up of over 80 million adult locusts, each of which is said to eat a quantity equal to its own weight. They can fly over a 100 km a day and eat through standing crops.

“Unwanted guests,” IPS officer  Dipanshu Kabra called them and posted, “And now this Most unwanted guests of the year are here. The #LocustSwarms arrived at the Delhi-NCR, today. Locals are advised to keep their windows & doors completely locked. Govt Departments on alert. #LocustsAttack #Gurugram.”

Scores of other Gurugram residents shared videos of the flying insects that can eat through acres of crops in a flash.


According to a news report in the Hindustan Times, the Gurugram district administration had issued a warning on Friday about a possible locust attack. It reportedly asked residents “to play loud music and beat utensils,” to repel the insects that feed on standing crops and green vegetables.

“An advisory has been issued by the Gurgaon district administration for all residents to keep the windows and doors of their houses closed and gather together in the event of a locust attack to make loud noises by beating on tin cans, plates and drums,” a spokesperson of the District Administration has been quoted by Indian Express. According to other news reports, the locust swarm may be moving from Gurugram to Faridabad both in Haryana, and is heading towards Uttar Pradesh. Faridabad Deputy Commissioner Yashpal Yadav told the media that crops were unaffected by the swarm. “The locusts entered Faridabad this afternoon. We are prepared to deal with the situation,” he said. 

According to news reports the wind direction may have ensured that New Delhi did not see a locust swarm. Not yet anyway.  K L Gurjar, deputy director of the Centre’s Locust Warning Organisation, said a locust swarm was flying over Gurgaon and the southern border areas of Delhi but the wind direction was not favourable for its transport to the national capital. “It would move towards Faridabad and then enter Uttar Pradesh through Palwal,” he said.

However, a Noida resident posted photos of the swarm from the UP township that shares a border with Delhi tweeting, “Locust Attack in Noida-Gurgaon Today.Damn You #2020” 

Farmers have already been asked to keep spraying pumps ready in case of an locust invasion.




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