Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has identified nine districts vulnerable to possible locust invasions. It has put the farmers and the agriculture department on high alert, officials said Tuesday. Most of the districts are bordering Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. The Odisha government is working with the neighbouring states to constantly monitor the movement of locust swarms. This was disclosed by Agriculture and Farmer Empowerment Special Secretary SK Vashist.
In a meeting held at the Chief Minister’s Office, it was decided to use fire tenders for spraying insecticide. It was also been decided to keep a constant vigil for at least the next 10 days, an official said.
Districts on high alert
The districts which have been put on high alert are Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Jharsuguda, Sundergarh and Bargarh. These are vulnerable districts where locusts could cause damage, particularly the paddy cultivation. They may also cause damage to vegetable plantations and trees, the official said.
The swarm of locust which entered Monday neighbouring Chhattishgarh, have returned to Madhya Pradesh. Still, the state government did not rule out the possibility of their invasion to Odisha. State and district-level control rooms have been set up to monitor added another official who attended the meeting.
The meeting was informed that at least 6.5 lakhs of farmers have been alerted of the possible locust attack through WhatsApp. Another eight lakh cultivators have been informed of the situation through SMS.
The Odisha government has advised farmers not to panic over the situation and suggested them to take precautions. The Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) has issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) to deal with possible invasion of locusts.
PNN & Agencies