Federal Govt to spend Rs 14 bln & provincial Govts will contribute Rs 12 bln to counter locust: Fakhar Imam

Our Correspondent


ISLAMAABD: Desert locust situation in Pakistan has found a new corridor — they are ente­ring Pakistan from Afghan­istan — to DI Khan and Waziristan Desert locust situation in Pakistan has found a new corridor — they are ente­ring Pakistan from Afghan­istan — to DI Khan and Waziristan. Federal government will spend Rs 14 billion and provincial governments will contribute Rs 12 billion to counter the locust. This was stated by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Syed Fakhar Imam while chairing 5th meeting of NLCC on Saturday. He was of the point of view that locusts attack has been minimized by combined efforts in majority areas. The teams on the ground were sent out at night to spray and destroy locust when it rested, he told. He said the federal and provincial governments, district administration and farmers were coordinating to tackle the locust attacks. National Locust Control Center along with National Disaster Management Authority and district administrations were making effort to control the locust. About 8,000 army troops were deployed for the anti-locust operation. China extended financial help of USD4.9 million to Pakistan by giving it 53,000 liters of spray, sprayers and drones, he disclosed. He was of the view that 20 aircrafts will be used for anti-locusts operation. FAO will hand over 20 micronair sprayers in next week. He also mentioned that ADB and World Bank will finance anti locusts operation in form of USD 200 and USD 150 respectively. He also admired Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their coordination. He praised ISPR for locusts awareness campaign. A presentation was also given by Ministry NFS&R regarding National Action Plan(NAP) for anti-locusts. Target has been set for treating crop area in first stage. Punjab will treat 5 million Hectare(mn HA),Sindh will treat 1.5 mn HA, Balochistan will treat 0.5 mn HA. Similarly KPK will treat 0.5 mn HA. As per NAP, there will be a surveillance/control team that will be headed by an etymologists. The team will also include locust assistant, representative of local community and manpower from Pakistan Army. Meanwhile, talking to media at National Locust Control Center in Rawalpindi today [Saturday], Minister National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam has said that integrated efforts are being taken to control the locust attacks in the country. He appreciated the institutional efforts for elimination of locust in the country. He said the government is increasing locust elimination capacity and also in touch with international organizations to get benefits from their experience to deal with it. He said that the situation is being monitored closely. He said the NDMA is working with full commitment in this regard and the issue is being sensitized as well. The Minister said that operation and survey process are underway in locust-hit areas across the country.