Bengaluru: Karnataka is on high alert as there are all possibilities of the locust swarms entering the state through Maharashtra.
Over 100 villages of states of Rajasthan, Madhya PRadesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra have been affected by the locust swarms and as per experts another swarm from Pakistan is expected to enter India around mid-June.
Authorities in Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Telangana and Karnataka sounded alerts on Thursday to the possibility of locusts entering their territories.
The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned that the crop-destroying insects could reach Bihar and Odisha in the east in the coming weeks.
Taking stock of the situation, Chief Secretary TM Vijaybhaskar held a meeting on Wednesday with Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner Vandita Sharma, Dr Shylesha, entomologist, and professors Dr N Srinivasa and Dr ARV Kumar from the University of Agricultural Sciences.
The state government has asked the farmers in the Maharashtra-Karnataka border districts – Koppal, Vijayapura, Bidar and Yadgir -- to “remain vigilant and ward off the locusts by beating drums and making other loud sounds to displace their movement and use neem-based pesticides like Azadirachtin 10000 ppm and Neem Aza to protect high value crops, reported The New India Express.
However, Minister for Agriculture BC Patil, who held a meeting with experts has said that the locust attack is unlikely to happen in Karnataka.
“The wind is not blowing towards Karnataka..according to the MET department report wind is expected to be towards a different direction,99.99 per cent it (locust) will not come to Karnataka, so farmers need not worry,” BC Patil, the state’s agriculture minister," the Minister said adding that the locusts travel along the wind direction and not against it.
The minister also said they have stocked pesticide chlorpyrifos and it can be sprayed in case the locusts come.
A committee, comprising agriculture and horticulture directors and senior officials has been constituted and the officials have been directed to visit Kalaburagi, Bidar, Koppal and Yadgir districts.
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