Paralakhemundi/Malkangiri: Days after swarms of locusts were seen in parts of Nilagiri in Balasore district and in Padia block in Malkangiri district, farmers in fringe areas of Gajapati district panicked over possible invasion of insects which are on way from neighbouring Chhattisgarh to Madhya Pradesh.
The district administration of Gajapati is on their toes to deal with the possible threat from insects. The administration held a meeting to prepare for the problem.
Collector Anupam Shah held the preparatory meeting with officials of various departments like agriculture, forest and environment department, soil conservation department, fire safety department and scientists of Krishi Vigyan Kendra.
It was revealed that several medicine shops have a stock of 702 litres of preventive medicines to contain the locust incursion in the fringe areas. In view of the possible insect threat from the neighbouring state, the Collector asked officials of all departments to remain alert.
It was decided that the spray machines will be kept ready while help of the fire department will be taken, if necessary.
An awareness drive has been under way in 149 panchayats. Through leaflets, farmers are suggested to apply medicines prepared from neem seeds on their crops so as to ward off the marauding insects.
Locusts in large numbers are migrating from Chhattisgarh to Madhya Pradesh. The administration has advised the farmers not to panic but to remain alert. Meanwhile, the district administration is on its toes with farmers sensing about a possible locust invasion in the district.
The threat of inspects has appeared in Padia block where people panicked to see swarms of locust-like insects gobbling up plants in the area.
However, Collector Mansih Agrawal said grasshoppers are not locusts and there is no information about arrival of these insects.
“The administration is on alert while a meeting with officials of the agriculture, horticulture and fire departments was held over preparedness,” he added. People had seen some insects feeding on plants at Maheswar Colony Tuesday. Locals and farmers were panicked.
Agriculture officials visited the place and confirmed that the insects were grasshoppers.
When contacted, district agriculture officer Ramchandra Patnaik said officials are keeping tabs on the movement of locusts while many farmers were alerted though SMSes on the precautionary measures.
The department will decide on the effective steps to control the insects and farmers will be apprised about it, the DAO assured. Arrival of locusts has come at a time when common man and farmers are already reeling under the COVID-19 threat with the number of infections increasing on a daily basis.
The locust threat will be an added headache for the state government. The farmers are apprehensive about the financial losses they will suffer in the coming farming season.