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Pradeep Singh

Bhubaneswar: With the locust swarm around 500 kms away from Odisha, Director of Agriculture and Food Production, M Muthukumar today said that the State is all prepared and closely monitoring the movement of the pests.

Locusts are presently in Madhya Pradesh and some parts of Chhattisgarh. The agriculture and fire departments are prepared with the pesticides for spraying in case of a swarm, said Muthukumar.

As per reports, Fire departments in all the vulnerable districts have been alerted and there is adequate supply of required pesticides.

"Fire brigades are on high alert and we have sufficient number of fire tenders. If needed, we will mobilise fire tenders from neighbouring districts," said Fire Services IG, Asit Panigrahi.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday chaired a high-level review meeting in view of the locust threat and directed officials to remain extremely vigilant on the movement of the swarm.

In view of high vulnerability of districts like Bargarh, Sundergarh, Jharsuguda, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Malkangiri, Koraput and Rayagada, the government has put them on high alert.

Besides, collectors have been asked to hold meetings with district forest, fire, agriculture and horticulture officials to decide about steps to be taken if locusts enter Odisha.

Meanwhile, State and district-level control rooms, have been set up to monitor the situation. A decision has also been taken to send WhatsApp messages to about 6.5 lakh farmers and voice messages to about 8 lakh farmers.

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Edited By Bikram Keshari Jena

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