Odisha to alert 15 lakh farmers with text and voice messages about locusts
The government said the chances of locust attack are high in Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh and Bargarh districts .Updated: Jun 02, 2020 20:24 IST
The Odisha government plans to send text messages to around 6.5 lakh farmers through WhatsApp and voice message to nearly 8 lakh farmers of western Odisha districts for spreading awareness on a possible locust invasion from neighbouring Chhattisgarh.
Director of Agriculture and Food Production M Muthukumar told reporters on Tuesday that on a WhatsApp group, the farmers would be advised to form groups and make noise by beating utensils, tin boxes to drive away insects. The farmers are also being asked to take preventive measures like spraying neem seed kernel extract or neem-based insecticide on standing crops, he said.
“The locust swarms have returned to Madhya Pradesh due to wind direction from Chhattisgarh after reaching Koria district of Chhattisgarh yesterday. However, there is a possibility of the swarm of locusts entering Odisha,” said the director.
Chances of locust attack are high in Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh and Bargarh districts of the state.
“The districts bordering Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have been asked to stay on high alert. We are keeping a watch on the movement of locusts for next 10 days even as the insects are yet to reach Odisha. If required, Fire Service personnel will be engaged for spraying insecticide for locust control,” he said.
The director said Standard Operating Procedures have been formulated at district-level and block-level for irrigation officials to monitor the situation and submit a report stating the density of the locusts area-wise. Based on this report, action to control them will be taken. Also, a district-level monitoring committee and a state-level control room will be set-up.
Pawan Kumar Agarwal, the Vice-Chancellor of the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology said the government will use drones to spray insecticides in remote or difficult areas to kill locusts. The arrival of the locust swarm mainly depends on monsoon and the direction of the wind. Control rooms have been set up at state and district levels for locust control.