As locusts invade Maharashtra, Centre assures Mumbai not in their path
The Locust Warning Organisation (LWO) under the Union agriculture ministry clarified on Thursday that there is no locust swarm heading for Mumbai and that the predators were currently restricted to eastern Maharashtra.
“The invasion is restricted to parts of eastern Maharashtra with districts in Vidarbha affected in the state. The wind direction from Madhya Pradesh is favourable for their movement and food availability in these zones,” said KL Gurjar, deputy director, LWO.
From Wednesday onwards, reports accompanied by unverified photographs across social media said a locust attack was expected in Mumbai from Gujarat from Thursday morning onwards.
“Though locusts can survive in humid conditions of Mumbai, there is no warning for the city as the wind direction will not allow locusts’ movement to the coastal city from Gujarat,” said Gurjar.
He added that the department was constantly monitoring the movement of the swarms and prior alerts were issued to the state but not for Mumbai and the rest of the Konkan region.
“No such warning has been given for the Konkan region including Mumbai so far,” he said.
The insecticide officer, Rajan Naringrekar, of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation confirmed they had not received any alerts from the state or central bodies about any locust attacks in the city.
The state agriculture department,too, confirmed that there was no indication of locust movement towards Mumbai. “We are constantly getting updates from the Locust Warning Organisation, and no such warning or alert has been issued for Mumbai,” said Suhas Diwase, agriculture commissioner, Maharashtra.
“The wind direction is currently such that the swarms are present only towards eastern Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh border zone. If there was any indication of their movement to Mumbai, we would have issued an alert to district authorities but no such information has come to us so far.”
The India Meteorological Department’s aerodrome meteorological division in Santacruz (for civil aviation services) said there was no visible difference in visibility on Thursday. “If there was a large locust swarm, it would have been spotted by us but nothing like that has been identified by us,” said Sunil Kamble, scientist, IMD.