Chances of locusts reaching Karnataka remote: Minister

Chances of locusts reaching Karnataka remote: Minister

 Amid locusts attack in some parts of the country, the Karnataka government on Thursday claimed chances of a massive locust swarm reaching the state are remote due to change in the wind direction.

"Good thing is that the wind is not blowing towards Karnataka..according to the MET department report wind is expected to be towards a different direction,99.99 per cent it (locust) will not come to Karnataka, so farmers need not worry," Agriculture Minister BC Patil told reporters. As a precautionary measure, to face the situation in case of a locust swarm, a committee, comprising Agriculture and Horticulture directors and senior officials, has been constituted, and the officials have been directed to visit Kalaburagi, Bidar, Koppal and Yadgir districts.

"Our officials are in constant touch with officials in Maharashtra and are monitoring the situation," he added.

Patil along with Horticulture Minister Narayan Gowda today held discussions with experts, disaster management cell officials and top officials of the departments regarding the locust swarm.

In the last few months, locust attacks have been reported from many parts of the country, including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

The insects eat up crops in a field they attack, inflicting damage to the farm production.

Mentioning about the change in the wind direction, an official release said the locusts are about 450 km away from Bidar district border, and may not reach Karnataka.

Swarms of locusts have been reportedly seen in Maharashtra's Gondia district.

Stating that according to experts locusts have appeared in large numbers due to good rains last year in Rajasthan, a desert area, Patil said it has started moving in an eastward direction now.

"They travel along the wind direction and not against it," he said.

The minister also said as a precautionary measure, they have stocked pesticide chlorpyrifos and it can be sprayed in case the locusts come.

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