‘Three planes, 32 vehicles needed to eliminate locusts in Sindh’

Agriculture minister writes to Centre seeking help, lamenting lack of cooperation

​ Our Correspondent November 26, 2019

KARACHI: Swarms of locusts have infested vegetation in Sindh. The issue has persisted for some months now with repeated reports of crop destruction due to the infestation. On Monday, the provincial government formally requested the Centre to provide three planes and 32 vehicles to spray the affected areas to ward off locusts and terminate the threat from existing attacks.

In a letter written to the Centre, Sindh Agriculture Minister Ismail Rahoo apprised the authorities that the provincial government has only one plane which is not sufficient to address the menace as anti-locust spray is needed in all four divisions. The letter states that the Centre is also responsible for procuring anti-locust pesticide while adding that the infestation was growing in Shaheed Benazirabad, Larkana, Sukkur and Mirpurkhas divisions. The provincial government expressed the fear that crops in Sindh would suffer further damage if the federal government did not come through on the matter. The Sindh government has sought eight vehicles for each district to terminate locusts from the province.

WATCH: Desert locusts descend upon Karachi

The letter expressed dismay on behalf of the provincial government at what it called lack of cooperation and assistance from the Centre.

Rahoo stated in the letter that the Sindh government has allocated Rs330 million to address the problems faced by locust-infected areas, however, the infestation appears to be persisting despite sprays in several districts. Besides, the letter states, the plane for spray in Khairpur, Naru, Saleh Putt and Shaheed Benazirabad, is not functional. The Centre must provide three more planes to Sindh to use for spraying the dry regions of the province, demanded Rahoo, adding that the infestation could be very damaging for the harvest next year if the Centre did not take the required measures to eliminate locusts. The minister claimed that the Centre had given Sindh a compromised plane, which was in poor condition, while functioning planes remained on stand-by in Punjab.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2019.


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