While a change in wind direction has reportedly turned the swarm towards Balochistan in Pakistan, Parmar said there are not too many left to go. The situation is likely to be brought fully under control by Sunday.
However, the Gujarat government
has now assured compensation to farmers in the northern parts of the state, who have been affected by the recent swarm attack.
Till Friday, the state government had said locusts in about 25 per cent of affected area had been controlled with pesticide spraying.
While Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani has assured compensation to aggrieved farmers in north Gujarat, their demand for electricity during the day has also been addressed. Farmers had sought power during the day to run water pumps and ward off the pests by playing loud music or making noises.
According to Parmar, large swarms of locusts has been found across 124 villages in 17 talukas of four districts. These include 114 villages from 13 talukas in Banaskantha district, five in one taluka of Mehsana, four in two talukas of Patan district, and one village in one taluka of Sabarkantha district.
However, 27 state survey teams, the Centre's 19 locust control teams and 25 local tractor-mounted sprayers have brought locusts covering 3,526 hectares under control.
State estimates put the total locust-affected area at 5,000 hectares in north Gujarat. "Based on wind patterns, it seems the swarms are no more likely to enter Gujarat but may move towards Pakistan," an official had stated on Friday.
However, ever since the first sighting a few weeks ago, farmers have been applying household solutions to combat the swarms. Some burnt tyres or dry straw, played drums and musical DJs, and operated large fans besides beating steel plates.
Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare, Parshottam Rupala, ruled out use of helicopters for spraying pesticides to destroy the pests, stating that the practice posed a bigger health risk for animals and farmers alike. Instead, the government now plans to experiment with drones for spraying of the malathion pesticide, even as traditional methods like beating steel plates and playing loud music are being used to ward off locusts.