Step up measures for combating the pest menace, officials urged

In order to end the pest and fly menace faced by residents living around Food Corporation of India (FCI) godown in Peelamedu/Ganapathy area, Coimbatore district administration is making arrangements for fogging pesticides in the colonies around the godown.

District Collector M. Karunagaran said that following representations from people living in Sri Ram Nagar, Gandhi Maanagar, Hudco Colony and other areas near the FCI godown, regarding the pest menace, District Revenue Officer K. Karpagam along with officials from FCI, Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation, District Supply Officer, and officials from revenue, health and corporation visited the areas during the last week of July.

Inquiries with the godown employees revealed that there was a shortage of labourers in the FCI for spraying the pesticides around the godowns to prevent the breeding of pests and flies, residents said.

The godown with 22 stock yard facilities functioning since 1981 was catering to the food grains requirements of Coimbatore, Nilgiris, Tirupur, Erode and Karur and has the capacity to stock closer to 1.10 lakh tonnes and was at present having 87,000 tonnes of food grains. The officials instructed the FCI authorities to expedite measures for eradicating the menace within the FCI godown and the health department was asked to commence the fogging of pesticides besides having a system of informing the residents in advance through public address system to safeguard the edible items whenever fogging was done.

Meanwhile, a fact-finding team report of the Samam People’s Movement has urged the authorities to step up measures for combating the pest and flies menace. The team led by lawyer C.J. Rajan visited the area on July 31 following representations from residents living near the godown.

The team alleged that poor maintenance of the godown had resulted in the entire premises becoming a breeding ground for pests and flies affecting the thousands of residents living nearby. Failure to spray pesticides on the premises at regular intervals is said to be the reason for the pest menace. FCI was facing shortage of staff for carrying out pest control measures.

In addition, Samam also alleged irregularities in clearing the despatch of food grains, resulting in the piling up of stock and sought stringent action against staff responsible for piling up stock of food grains and ultimately going waste.

The report also called for use of organic and time-tested methods to combat pest menace rather than using tablets that are causing health hazards for the residents living nearby. Instead of allowing the stock to pile up and go waste, Samam sought distribution of the same to the below poverty line people for ensuring their food security. The NGO also urged the National/State Human Rights Commissions to take suo motu cognisance of the issue to ensure the safety and health of the people living around the FCI godown.

Meanwhile, on Monday a group of residents from the area presented a petition and requested the district administration at the grievances to protect them from the insects and worms, which they claim were originating in the food godown.

According to S. Chinnaraj, a resident of the area, they had submitted a similar petition during the last grievances meeting after which some de-infestation operations were carried out. However, these measures had proved to be largely inadequate as, he claimed, the operations were not carried out inside the godown where there was infestation.

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