Okara  - Federal Minister Food Security and Research Makhdoom Khusru Bukhtiar has said that government had been struggling hard to foil locust attacks on crops by providing necessary support to farmers and avoid such attacks in future.

He said about 30 countries had fallen prey to the locust attacks on their green fields. Pakistan had proclaimed national emergency on this state of affairs. All the concerned govt departments were constantly busy for locust killing and avoid their reproduction. The Pakistan Army and NDMA were also providing enormous help and support. He said the farmers must not worry about these circumstances. The departmental reports had disclosed that about 85 percent of locust attack had been well-controlled. He said no measure would be spared to defeat this national catastrophe. He said the locust attack was occurring again after about 27 years.

The minister said that the national action plan was in the making. By now about 50,000 anti-locust pesticides had been sprayed over the locust all around the country. The federal minister visited the govt forestry at Pipli Pahar in Depalpur tehsil to view the work and success of the govt deptartments’ locust control survielence groups. It was announced for the farmers that if they brought dead locust in sacks and bags, they would get Rs.20/- per kg of dead locust. So the farmers had brought enormous load of dead locust in sacks and bags. There were reports that this load would be bought by the poultry feed making factories to make fodder. NDMA Chairman Lt-Gen. Muhammad Afzal, Secretary Agriculture Wasif Khurshid, Director General FAO UND Dongya, Ahsan Waheed Commissioner Sahiwal, Raja Khurram Shahzad Director General NDMA, Usman Ali Deputy Commissioner Okara were present on the occasion. Earlier, the minister was warmly received by Chaudhry Tariq Irshad, Rao Safdar Ali Khan, Rao Muhammad Wajdanur Rahman of PTI and all the govt departments’ heads at the helipad and was led to the Pipli Pahar govt forestry.

Talking to journalists, the minister expressed his condolence over death of PM’s trusted aide Naeemul Haq. He told the journalists about govt efforts to end the locust. He said pesticides had been sprayed on more than 62,000 hectare of land. During previous days, while busy in campaign against locust by plane, a pilot and an engineer had been martyred after their plane crashed in the fields. The minister pledged to the people that govt stood with the farmers in the hour of need.

The minister had also a meeting with the officials at the forest rest house where Secretary Agriculture Panjab Wasif Khurhid apprised the minister that the locust group stayed in an area for time being then it moved ahead and the govt had provided Melathian poison for arranging spray on the locust.