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Massive swarms of desert locusts are destroying crops across western and central India, spearing into Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab now, after Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, as the government said it has stepped up its response to the country's worst locust attack in nearly three decades.

Locust containment measures and sprinkling operations have been conducted in 303 locations spread over more than 47,000 hectares till Wednesday in 20 districts of Rajasthan, nine in Madhya Pradesh, two in Gujarat and one each in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, sources in the Agriculture Ministry said.

The government is using specialised spraying machines and has set up 11 control rooms to coordinate the response.

After attacking crops in Madhya Pradesh, a swarm of locusts reached Uttar Pradesh's Jhansi district on Wednesday, a government official said. Other districts in the region are also on alert.
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