DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand state government has issued an alert in the state in the wake of impending locust attack, especially the plains bordering Uttar Pradesh.
The move came after a review meeting of the agriculture department.
Subodh Uniyal, state agriculture minister said, "The alert was issued in a bid top step up preparedness for a similar contingency. The officials in the agriculture department have been asked to stay alert and ready in case the locust swarms attack the crop fields in the state."
The swarms that are already busy wrecking crop fields in neighbouring states can attack Uttarakhand too.
Directions have been issued to the officials to arrange chemicals and pesticides in adequate quantities to help farmers save their crops, added the minister.
Apart from this, the farmers are being advised to make noise by banging utensils, spray chemicals or make a fire so that the smoke doesn’t let the insects sit on their crops.
The officials from the agriculture department added that these locusts can engulf all the crop within minutes including wheat, fruit, vegetables, as well as trees.
"This is why we have put our officers, at all levels, on alert. There is not much possibility of the swarm reaching our state as the locusts have been currently traced to central UP," added the minister.
The state government does not want another blow to the economy which will come if the locusts happen to be swarming crop fields of Uttarakhand.
At present, the locust swarms have reached parts of UP after destroying crops in Rajasthan and may enter Uttarakhand as well.
Five states including Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, have already been hit by the swarms.
Meanwhile, the central government has also pitched in to help states battling locusts.
The Union Agriculture ministry on Wednesday had informed that locust control operations have been stepped up in the affected states to combat the menace.
“89 fire brigades for pesticide spray; 120 survey vehicles; 47 control vehicles with spray equipment and 810 tractor-mounted sprayers have been deployed for effective locust control, as per requirement during different days,” the ministry had said in a statement released concerning locust attack problem.