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Sindh asks the Center for a locust spray plane

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CM Syed Murad Ali Shah says only one out of six requested earlier

PHOTO: REUTERS / FILE

KARACHI: Appalled by the Center’s “inaction” over the impending locust attacks, Sindh Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah urged the federal government to equip the province’s locust control teams with five more planes on Wednesday for aerial spraying.

Chairing meeting to review locust control strategy, CM observed that insects had started attacking live crops in Sindh, alarming that if not treated immediately, the problem would threaten security food.

He maintained that he had written a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan on May 1, requesting the supply of six aircraft, very low volume sprayers (ULV), pesticides and emulsified concentrate of lambda cyhalothrin in sufficient quantities, plus human resources in the form of field teams.

“He [the PM] took no concrete action [to fulfill the request]The CM expressed regret, stating that only an old plane and a pilot had been deployed to fight locusts in Sindh and Balochistan.

He urged the federal government to provide five more aircraft and pesticides and to deploy more locust control teams in the province before the Kharif crops are harvested.

Meanwhile, Sindh’s Minister of Agriculture, Muhammad Ismail Rahoo, informed the CM that desert areas were threatened by locusts.

“Swarms of locusts had previously descended on Ghotki and Kashmore in April, after which aerial spraying was carried out on 18,829 and 19,227 acres respectively of land in the two districts,” he said, adding that bands larvae were now present in Tharparkar, Umerkot, Sanghar. , Shaheed Benazirabad, Khairpur, Sukkur and Ghotki.

“They can also move to the growing areas, which will be problematic,” he warned.

He said the Department of Agriculture has so far taken action against locusts on more than 62,813 acres of land in 22 districts of Sindh, with the help of the Plant Protection Department (DPP).

The Minister informed the CM that the Ministry of Agriculture is currently carrying out an investigation and control operation in other areas.

According to the agricultural sector in Sindh, Raheem Soomro, the National Disaster Management Authority and the DPP had also provided the province’s security kits to 28 field teams, in addition to other assistance.

Closing the meeting, the CM asked the Ministry of Agriculture, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, the DPP and others to update the situation daily.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28, 2020.

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