Jhansi put on alert against locusts

Jhansi on alert against locusts, fire brigade ready to spray insecticide

A swarm of locusts are seen at a farm in Fatehgarh Salla village near Beawar. (PTI photo)

Fire brigade vehicles loaded with insecticide were on standby in this district on Wednesday after an alert that a swarm of locusts could cross over from neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.

According to Kamal Katiyar, deputy director in UP’s Agriculture Department, a swarm spread over a square kilometre, has been spotted in Madhya Pradesh’s Datia district.

It could enter the adjacent Jhansi district through Moth or Samthar, he said. The current wind direction increases the chances of this happening.

Swarms of locusts entered Rajasthan from Pakistan last month and then spread to other western states. Several districts in Rajasthan were affected and recently a swarm was spotted in a residential area in Jaipur.

A swarm had earlier attacked some parts of Jhansi district ion May 22 and 24 but an already alert administration, with the help of local people, eliminated over a half of it.

As part of preparations for another wave, two fire brigade vehicles with insecticide have been deployed in all four tehsils of the UP district.

In addition, six more vehicles are ready at the district headquarter, Katiyar said.

Ten municipal employees with two insecticide spraying machines have been posted in every block, Katiyar said.

He said the movement of locusts will depend on the wind direction.

Going by the present direction, the locusts could enter Jhansi district from Moth and Samthar and then move towards Jalaun and Hamirpur districts in Bundelkhand region.

Locusts don’t target animals or humans but can devastate crop fields.

On Tuesday, the district administration had asked people to alert it they spot a swarm.

"This is an emergency, and we need to remain vigilant. This swarm has come travelling through Iran, Pakistan, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh,” Jhansi DM Andra Vamsi had said.

The DM said the administration had arranged sound systems to deter locusts. Farmers too have been advised to play loud music.

The DM said a seven-member team from the Centre is touring Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to deal with the locusts. 

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