Sri Lanka has taken the unusual step of clearing wasps from a tea plantation to ensure Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not get stung during his upcoming visit.
Police in Hatton, 125km east of Colombo, hired a private company to remove the wasps from its picturesque tea fields which Mr Modi is expected to tour with his entourage on Friday.
The private Bee Protection Organisation said it removed nests from two locations to ensure the Indian visitors could land in helicopters without stirring up trouble with the aggressive locals.
“There were two big nests near two helipads. At the time of landing, helicopters can disturb the wasps and they could sting people in that area,” the head of the wasp removal unit, Mr Tissa Bandara Thambavita, told AFP. “We have cleared the nests and declared the area safe for the VVIPs to visit.”
The winged evictees were removed humanely and relocated to a nearby jungle, he added.
A team will remain on site to ensure those kicked out do not return before Mr Modi touches down.
It will be the second time in just over two years that the Indian leader is visiting neighbouring Sri Lanka. He is arriving tomorrow as chief guest for the country’s celebration of Vesak Day, which marks the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha.
Mr Modi will address a Buddhist conference in Colombo before travelling by helicopter to the central tea country to open an India- funded hospital and address Indian-origin plantation workers.
He will also visit Sri Lanka’s holiest Buddhist shrine, the Temple of the Tooth, before leaving on Friday evening.
Sri Lankan police have said they will deploy more than 6,000 officers to provide additional security during Mr Modi’s overnight visit.