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Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar yesterday flagged off a Bell Helicopter with spray equipment from a helipad facility at Gautam Buddh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh.

The helicopter will fly for Air Force Station at Uttarlai, Barmer where it will be stationed initially and from there deployed for locust control in desert areas of Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur and Nagaur.

The Bell 206-B3 helicopter will have single pilot operation, has a pesticide carrying capacity of 250 litres in one trip and can cover about 25 to 50 hectare area in one flight.

Speaking on occasion, Mr Tomar said, deployment of machines, vehicles and manpower has been increased and concerned states are utilizing State Disaster Response Funds to tackle the problem.

He said, it was estimated that this year there would be greater locust problem. The Minister said, Government is in full preparedness and all the State Governments have been ed and are working in close coordination with the Centre.  

Drones have been used for the first time for locust control and today aerial spraying of insecticides with the use of helicopter has also been launched.

Till now 12 drones have been deployed for locust control in Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner and Nagaur.

India has become the first country in the world to use drones for locust control after finalizing the protocols.

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