Chief Minister constitutes five-member committee
The State government has alerted district Collectors and senior police officials of districts which share borders with Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh about the entry of swarms of locusts.
The government has deployed fire engines, jetting machines and pesticides as part of the precautionary measures to ensure that there is no scope for entry of locusts into the State from the neighbouring areas.
Even as the State is grappling with the efforts for containing the Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact, it has to face the threat of locusts which crossed over into the country from Pakistan through Rajasthan and spread to neighbouring Maharashtra and other States, threatening standing crops and vegetation.
Locusts, desert locusts, in particular, is considered to be one of the most devastating migratory pests in the world. It is highly mobile and known to feed on large quantities of any kind of green vegetation, including crops, pasture, and fodder. The seriousness of the situation can be gauged from the fact that Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had convened a meeting of the senior officials to explore the possibilities of checking the entry of locusts into the State.
The Chief Minister constituted a committee of five members to keep a tab on the movement of the locusts and to prevent the scope for these swarms entering into the State.
Central Integrated Pest Management Centre representative R. Sunitha, Agriculture University principal scientist Dr. S.J. Rehman, Conservator of Forests (Warangal) Akbar, Ramagundam police commissioner Satyanarayana and Mancherial collector Bharati had been nominated as the members of the committee which would stay in Ramagundam for four days from Friday. The committee would monitor the situation from Adilabad to Bhadrachalam along the course of Godavari. It would also suggest the options for killing the locusts if they enter the State. The Chief Minister reviewed aspects pertaining to the entry of swarms of locusts into the country, the course of their travel, impact on the crops/vegetation and related issues. He wanted to know about the possible course these locusts would take in the days to come.
He was briefed that the locusts were travelling to Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh from Maharashtra covering Bhandara and Gondia en route. It was estimated that these swarms would travel from Madhya Pradesh to northern parts of the country and from there to Punjab. However, since the course of these locusts would depend on the wind direction, there was scope for these locusts to enter Telangana from Chhattisgarh if the wind direction was towards south.
Though the possibility of these locusts entering the State was less, the Chief Minister was particular that necessary precautions should be put in place to ensure that they would not cause major loss to the State. Accordingly, it has been decided to take steps to kill the swarms of the locusts as in the case of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh where major attempts were being made in Gondia and other areas.
These efforts had ensured that the locusts were killed in large numbers, but some of those that survived could travel to Punjab through Madhya Pradesh. And, in case of change in the direction of the wind, they could enter the State through neighbouring Chhattisgarh. This called for taking steps to ensure that they did not enter Telangana. Accordingly, Directions had been issued to districts bordering Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh that they should be on high alert and ready to spray pesticides based on the prospects of these locusts entering the State. Mr. Rao directed the officials concerned to take steps to estimate the travel course of the locusts from time to time and monitor the steps that were being taken to avert their entry.
Collectors of Bhadradri Kothagudem, Mulugu, Jayashankar Bhoopalpally, Mancherial, Asifabad, Adilabad and Peddapalli as well as the police administration had been alerted accordingly to monitor the movement of the locusts and enforcing the directions issued by the government.
The officials along the Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh borders had been instructed to ensure ready availability of 15,000 litres of pesticides like Malathion, Chloropyrifos, Lambda Cyhalothrin liquid.
Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, DGP M. Mahender Reddy and other senior officials had been asked to monitor the situation on a regular basis.
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