KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah asked the agriculture ministry on Monday to hire a number of aircraft to carry out spray in the desert areas of the province, which have been gravely affected by locusts.
The chief minister desired to eradicate the locusts in those regions before the beginning of their breeding season.
A spokesperson at the CM House said Mr Sah also sought help from Chinese Consul General Li Bijian, who called on him at the CM House, for hiring of aircraft to carry out sprays for the elimination of the dangerous locusts in the desert regions.
Mr Shah issued such directives during his meeting with Agriculture Minister Ismail Rahu, said the spokesperson.
‘We have to kill them before their breeding starts, else they will cause irreparable losses in the coming season’
He said the locust swarms on standing crops in various parts of the province had caused serious losses to the farmers in general and national and provincial economies in particular.
“The growers are hugely upset on this situation and their losses have hurt them a great deal financially,” he said.
The chief minister said the plant protection department of the federal government had a few aircraft and most of those had been grounded, thus, “they could not provide necessary assistance to the provincial government”.
He asked the agriculture minister to contact the United Arab Emirates government and request them to provide aircraft to the Sindh government for conducting aerial sprays in our deserts where locust swarms have settled for breeding. “We have to kill them before their breeding starts, else, they will cause irreparable losses in the coming season,” he said.
The chief minister said the provincial government would pay rental cost of the aircraft and provide them the required material for sprays.
Besides, while speaking to the newly-appointed Chinese consul general in Karachi, Mr Shah asked him to discuss the issue of locust swarms in Sindh with his government and provide the Sindh government with support of latest aircraft.
The CM House spokesperson said the consul general assured the chief minister that he would discuss the matter with his government and would respond to him within the next three days. Mr Shah thanked the Chinese government for establishing a coal-fired power plant at Thar, adding that a Chinese company was working in Thar for coal mining.
“China is our most trusted friend and the foundation of this friendship was laid by founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” he said.
The chief minister presented a memento of the Sindh government — ajrak and Sindhi topi — to the Chinese diplomat and formally welcomed him to Sindh. He asked him to consider Sindh as his new home.
Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2020