Locust menace closing in on Telangana

Hyderabad: Locusts, a crop damaging migratory pests are moving speedily, covering Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Most recently, the locusts have entered Katol and Parseoni in Nagpur district of Maharashtra, with eyes set on neighbouring Bhandara district.

The experts said there was a possibility that the swarms may move towards Punjab but can take a different course towards south as their movement is highly dependent on the movement of wind. They may move south towards Chhattisgarh and Telangana.

The distance between Maharshtra’s Nagpur and Telangana’s Adilabad is said to be approximately 200 km and locusts are reportedly covering 100 km in a single day.

Nagpur to Adilabad

Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on Thursday constituted a five-member experts committee to follow the movement of locust swarms and to prepare an action plan based on their movement to stop them at the borders of Telangana State.

“At this movement efforts are being made at Gondia to stop the locusts by killing them in large numbers. But there are also indications that many may be moving towards north India. But they are not ruling out the possibility of the swarms entering Chhattisgarh and Telangana. Hence, all steps must be taken to stop the swarms at Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh borders,” the Chief Minister said, and directed officials to spray insecticides to control the locust menace.

“The swarm travelled over 100 km on Wednesday from Andhalgaon, Mohadi taluka back into Ramtek tehsil in Nagpur, and again into Tumsar Bhandara. They have settled at orchards surrounding Temani,” said Ravindra Bhosale, divisional joint director agriculture.

A 1-kilometer swarm consists of up to 80 million locusts, and at least 10 such swarms were chewing through crops in India as of Wednesday, according to the Locust Warning Organisation (LWO).

Several Indian media outlets reported that about 123,500 acres of cropland had already been destroyed in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh states.

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