Hyderabad: Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said that all precautions are being taken to avert entry of locust swarms into the state. He said that all district collectors, police officials on the borders of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh have been put on alert and fire engines, jetting machines, and pesticides are kept ready. A five-member committee was appointed to keep a tab on the movement of locust swarms and monitor the measures being taken to prevent the swarms from entering the state.

The CM held a high-level review meeting at the Pragathi Bhavan here on Thursday on the measures to be taken to check the menace. The CM was briefed about the entry of locust swarms into the country, their travel path, the impact of infestation, and other related issues. He enquired about the possible direction these locusts groups could take in the days to come. The locust swarms that entered the country from Rajasthan, as on date, are on their way to Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh from Maharashtra through Bhandara and Gondia.

Experts estimate that there are more chances of the swarms moving to Madhya Pradesh and then making their way towards Punjab. Since the swarms travel along the direction of the wind, if the winds blow towards the south, they may travel via Chhattisgarh to Telangana.

Even though the chances of locusts entering the state are less, the CM said that they have decided to take all necessary precautions.
“Major measures are being taken up in Gondia area to kill the swarms of locusts. Even though they were killed in crores in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh their numbers survived. These locusts groups may travel to Punjab via Madhya Pradesh. If the wind changes its direction, they may enter our state via Chhattisgarh. So measures should be taken to make sure they do not enter our state. The areas bordering Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh should be on high alert. If they enter they should be killed at the border itself by spraying pesticides,” the CM ordered the officials.

Among the directions that KCR issued, he asked the officials to estimate the travel path of the locusts from time to time and monitor the measures to avert their entry. A five-member committee has been appointed to take charge of this detail. The committee consists of CIPM Plant Protection Officer Sunitha, Agriculture University Principal Scientist Dr SJ Rehman, Warangal Conservator of forests Akbar, Ramagundam Police Commissioner Satyanarayana, and Mancherial Collector Bharathi. This committee will stay in Ramagundam for four days from Friday and will monitor the situation from Adilabad to Bhadrachalam alongside the river Godavari by helicopters. They will also monitor the killing of the locusts if needed.

The district collectors of Bhadradri Kothagudem, Mulugu, Jayashankar Bhoopalpally, Mancherial, Asifabad, Adilabad, Pedapalli, and police officers concerned were alerted about the issue.

The officials concerned were asked to keep 15,000 liters of pesticides like Malathion, Chlorpyrifos, Lambda Cyhalothrin liquid ready on the Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh borders, along with 12 fire engines and 12 jetting machines.

Chief Secretary, DGP, Disaster management secretary, Principal Secretary to Agriculture, Agriculture University Vice-Chancellor would monitor the situation from Hyderabad on a regular basis. Officials in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh governments will be consulted as needed.

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