NEW DELHI: Indian Air Force choppers will now be deployed to tackle the locust menace. The agriculture ministry is importing high-powered spraying equipment that will be fitted on five Mi-17 helicopters for IAF for spraying on locust swarms.
“A high-power spraying equipment is being imported from EU to be fitted on five Mi-17 helicopters of the IAF. The close collaboration between different ministries, IAF, Army Aviation Corps and the industry will help us win against the worst
in 27 years. An empowered committee is negotiating with helicopter companies and an agreement is expected soon, subject to DGCA clearance,” said a senior aviation ministry official.
The aviation ministry had last month allowed the agriculture ministry use of spray drones to spray for anti-locust operations. “An inter-ministerial empowered committee conducted fast-track negotiations with bidders and work orders have been issued to five drone companies. The drone-squads will reach the hotspots — Barmer, Phalodi, Nagaur and Bikaner, early next week,” said the official.
“In 2-3 years, as demand rises and drone prices fall, we hope to have village-based entrepreneurs who provide drone services for crop mapping, analytics, yield improvement advice and spraying. Just like people who loan out tractors, seeders and harvester-combines,” the official added.