Bhubaneswar: Threat from locusts looms large for the state as a swarm is currently located deep inside forest areas on Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh border – around 500 km away from Odisha.
Speaking to reporters here, Agriculture director M Muthukumar said the district Collectors have been put on alert for a possible locust invasion and Fire Services department has been directed to remain on high alert.
Since it’s apprehended that locust swarm may invade the state, government has taken all precautionary measures to tackle the situation, he said, adding, “We are continuously monitoring it.”
Following the instruction of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Fire Services department has decided to deploy as many as 91 high capacity fire tenders in the nine high risk districts of western and southern Odisha to tackle locust attack.
The fire tenders will be used to spay of chemicals to tackle locust attack. The districts which are likely to be worst affected are Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh and Bargarh.
The Fire Services personnel have also started mock drills at various stations across the state to tackle the menace.
Fire Services IG Asit Panigrahi said all fire stations have been put on high alert and there are adequate fire tenders. If any district needs more fire tenders, it will be mobilised from neighbouring districts. The total process will be monitored from the state control room, he said.
The government has categorised all the districts into three zones – high-risk zone, medium-risk zone and low-risk zone. Districts of Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Malkangiri, Kalahandi, Bargarh and Jharsuguda have been identified as the high-risk zone while Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Deogarh, Sambalpur, Angul, Boudh and Kandhamal fall under the second category and remaining districts under low risk zone.