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As locusts land in Maharashtra, officials in Karnataka pull up socks

After the parts of Northern India is under locust attack and reached the districts of eastern Maharashtra, the farmers located in the border districts of Karnataka are in a state of worry.

Published: 27th May 2020 12:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th May 2020 12:42 PM   |  A+A-

A swarm of locusts. (File Photo | AP)

Express News Service

VIJAYAPURA: Amidst the challenging times of pandemic virus the state government is gearing up to fight the possible attack of dangerous desert locusts, which has worsened the situation on agrarian front in at least five states in North India. 

After the parts of Northern India is under locust attack and reached the districts of eastern Maharashtra, the farmers located in the border districts of Karnataka are in a state of worry. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has directed the officials of the Department of Agriculture in the state to make necessary preparations to fight the deadly pests. 

The locusts are known for wolfing on all sorts of plants and standing crops. The bug will fly as per the wind directions and can fly a maximum of 200 km in a day. The experts claim that ‘Locusts are very dangerous to all types of vegetation. They feed on green leaves and known for gulping down crops spread in thousands of acres of land.’ 

These migratory pests in thousands have found in a couple of villages near Nagpur of Maharashtra, which is hardly distanced at 450 km from Bidar and 650 km to Kalaburagi of Karnataka. After the locusts found near to the border of Karnataka, the top officials of Department of Agriculture coordinating with Department of Forest and Ecology are chalking out plans to fight the dangerous pest.

Speaking to The New Indian Express, Brijesh Kumar Dikshit, Commissioner for Agriculture pointed that, “These locusts will fly as per the wind directions. Currently, the wind is towards north and possibility of these pests flying towards the state is low. If the wind changes its directions towards south then there are all chances that it might enter to state via Bidar. We are constantly in touch with the top official concerned at the ministry, who are monitoring the situation, and collecting the information about the movements of locusts.”   

“At present there are no crops or sowing activities in and around Bidar. But we are worried that it would attack the forests and consume the plants or vegetation. The insect can also cover a maximum of 200 km a day. We have planned to conduct the joint-operation with the Department of Forest. We have also enough stock of chemicals to fight the pests,” revealed Commissioner Brijesh Kumar.   

Caution from Opposition

Opposition party leaders cautioned the state government against the locusts attack almost a month ago. Congress leader and former minister M B Patil has tweeted on April 11, 2020 about the possible attack of pests and urged the state government to take precautions. 

Speaking to The New Indian Express, former minister M B Patil reiterated that, “I had made an attempt to bring this into the notice of authorities concerned almost a month ago. But, now the threat seems to be looming large across India. The pests have already invaded the districts of Maharashtra which are few hundred kilometers away from Karnataka. We have to take necessary precautions or else this will have a deadly impact than Coronavirus. Crops will be destroyed, which may lead to hunger and famine affecting hundreds of thousands of people in the state. I will personally write to the Chief Minister and Agriculture Minister to consider it seriously and chalk out plans to fight the desert locusts,” stated lawmaker Patil. 

Facts

  • The locusts are a family of grasshopper
  • The locusts can fly a maximum of 200km in a day
  • Locusts are known for consuming all sorts of plants and standing crops
  • Locusts will fly only during the day and as per the wind direction
  • Five states are severely affected by locusts attack
  • Rajasthan is the first state to be hit with dangerous locusts
  • Nagpur in Maharashtra is the nearest city to Karnataka to face locusts

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