MOCK DRILLS were conducted in Bathinda’s Kheti Bhawan Sunday morning after locust swarms were spotted in Mangla and Malika villages at Sirsa district of Haryana, located around 60 km from the Punjab border.
Swarms were also seen in Ganganagar and Hanumangarh districts of Rajasthan again at about 60-70 km from the last village of Punjab from Fazilka side. “However, rainfall during the day helped us a lot due to which the swarm settled and hence could not fly towards Punjab. Early in the morning, wind direction was towards Punjab,” said Jeet Virk, agriculture department official from Bathinda.
Bathinda, Fazilka, Muktsar, Mansa and Faridkot districts have been put on high alert as they have borders nearing either Rajasthan or Haryana. Muktsar, Fazilka and Bathinda are close to borders of both Rajasthan and Haryana.
Sutantantar Kumar, director, Agriculture, Punjab, said, “Our teams are ready, but it seems that danger has subsided for the time being. Mock drills were conducted in Bathinda as well as Fazilka.” Meanwhile, swarms in Rajasthan were upto 3.5 km long.
He added, “We have about 17,000 litres of pesticides in stock. Apart from this Markfed is on call to supply more if needed. A team of the Government of India is sitting in Abohar to keep a close watch while another team is also in Rajasthan. They will provide us drones if needed. We have spray pumps ready which are with the department and local farmers as well. ”
Meanwhile so far, a few swarms had been spotted in Fazilka in February, March and even in April. However they were controlled well in time, due to which damage to crops could be avoided. An alert regarding locust swarms has been sounds across the state and not just border districts, said the agriculture director.
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