The Gujarat agricultural department has started preparations for a possible locust attack after receiving a warning from the Locust Control Office (LCO) of Union Ministry of Agriculture.
The LCO has issued a warning to Gujarat government in the wake of a locust outbreak in Jaisalmer and Barmer regions of the neighbouring Rajasthan.
Speaking with The Indian Express, Assistant Director of LCO – K I Meena said, “The locust outbreak has begun in Jaisalmer and Barmer regions of Rajasthan. An operation is on to control it in the region. Yesterday, we had held a video conference with the agriculture officers of Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan in this regard. And we have done preparations to deal with any locust attack in Banaskantha, Patan, Mehsana and Kutch districts which are prone to such attacks.”
“But, so far, there is not locust sighting in Gujarat,” he added.
Meena said that people in these districts along with village sarpanches and gram sewaks have been instructed to inform if they see any locust in the region. The Border Security Force (BSF) officials have also been informed by the authorities to intimate if they find any locust in the region. According to Meena, they cannot predict timing of the possible locust attack in Gujarat.
The agriculture department has already formed various teams in the districts of Banaskantha, Patan, Mehsana and Kutch to deal with possible locust attack.
A senior officer of the agriculture department said that they have formed 33 teams in Banaskantha, 15 in Patan and 10 in Mehsana districts. Similar arrangements have also been done in Kutch. The department has also kept stock of pesticides.
Last year, in June, Banaskantha district and parts of Patan and Mehsana districts had sustained locust attack. The state government had paid compensation of Rs. 32 crore to farmers for their loss.
Meanwhile, two deaths were reported due to unseasonal rainfall accompanied by hailstorm, lightning and thunderstorms in Banaskantha district Tuesday night.
A seven-year-old boy died in Sanesada village of Bhabhar taluka when the pillar of a house collapsed, while a 57-year-old man in Dangiya in Dantiwada taluka died after wall of a kutcha house collapsed. His two sons are also reported to be seriously injured in the incident, Banaskantha District Collector Sandip Sagale told The Indian Express.
Several kutcha houses were destroyed and a BSNL tower in Palanpur collapsed in the strong winds.
Major affected talukas of the district were Vadgam, Amirgadh, Palanpur, Deesa, Danta and Tharad that received rainfall and hailstorm damaging the crops Tuesday night.
The district is expected to receive rainfall on Wednesday too as the India Meteorological department (IMD) has issued a forecast of light rain and thundershowers at isolated places in the districts of North Gujarat region namely Banaskantha and Sabarkantha while remaining parts of the state would witness a dry weather.
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