KARACHI - The Sindh government has planned establishment of 'cattle colonies' at an estimated cost of Rs 3.328 billion in all district while the project is expected to be completed till June 2011. Sindh Livestock Minister Abdul Haq Bhurt told this the Sindh Assembly here on Friday. He said the establishment of cattle colonies was started last year. The minister criticised the previous provincial government, saying that the project was initiated in those districts where it was not feasible due to non-availability of water, meadows and other facilities pre-requisite for the project. He said the govt would also invite private sector as well as foreign investors to the project. Replying questions of MPAs, the provincial minister informed that the Directorate of Animal Husbandry of Provincial Livestock Department of Sindh has prepared a contingency plan to meet any emergency and epidemic disease in Livestock. As a result of recent rains, no such diseases have broken out in the domestic animals including buffalos, cows, sheep and goats in Sindh, minister said, adding that the provision of veterinary services after devolution is the mandate of the district government. However, the provincial livestock department was always in close coordination with district authorities as it provided ample quantities of vaccines and medicines to the district government. Replying to another question, the minister said the provincial govt was assisting the district governments in controlling trans-boundary animal diseases by providing medicines, vaccines and other inputs to veterinary hospitals/dispensaries /centres in the province. Besides, the provincial department also organized special campaigns for the control of Endo and Ecto parasites. Replying a question regarding import of cattle, Bhurt pointed out that the Sindh government has not imported cattle from foreign countries for cross-breeding during the period of 2000 to 2008. Meanwhile, minister informed that four Directorates_ Animal Breeding of Sindh Hyderabad, Veterinary Research and Diagnosis Sindh Tando Jam, Poultry Production and Research Sindh Karachi and Animal Husbandry Hyderabad are engaged in research on animals and prevention of diseases. He pointed out that the Sindh Livestock Dept was also facing a shortage of manpower and working with 1,739 staff against sanctioned strength of 1,996. To another question asked by Arif Mustafa Jatoi of opposition benches, he said the Sindh had no mad cows so how could the question arise of diseases of Bovine Spongifrom Encephalopathy. The minister further said that a scheme entitled "Strengthening of Livestock Service Project" has also been initiated for the Eradication of Rinder Pest Disease in animals. This project was for improving animal nutrition through enhanced availability of feed/fodder, he said, adding that establishing proper marketing systems to meet local and export requirements, for reliable livestock management information system at three tiers of government levels_ federal, provincial and district. The major source of funding for above project was the European Commission, which shared 75pc cost of the project while remaining 25pc amount was arranged by the provincial govt, the minister said.