LAHORE                  -               Chief Secretary Punjab Major (r) Azam Suleman Khan on Saturday presided over a meeting to review strategy to combat locusts in different districts of the province.

The meeting was attended by Senior Member Board of Revenue, Secretary Agriculture, DG PDMA, and officers concerned whereas divisional commissioners and deputy commissioner joined the meeting through video conferencing.

Speaking at the meeting, the Chief Secretary said that relevant departments would have to adopt dengue-like strategy and work on emergent basis to deal with possible attack of locusts. Officers should remain in the field and coordinate with local farmers and allied departments like forest and PDMA to save crops and livestock from locusts attack. He assured that all cooperation would be extended to meet requirements including availability of machinery, pesticides and aircrafts for aerial spray.

Secretary Agriculture and DG PDMA briefed the meeting that during last three months out of total 70,700 hectares area in Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar and Rahim Yar Khan, spray was done on 42,360 hectares through land routes while aerial spray was carried out on 800 hectares of area.

The Chief Secretary was briefed that so far 42,488 litres of pesticides have been sprayed in nine districts whereas 75 officers of different departments and 362 officials are performing their duties in the field, using 17 double-cabin vehicles, 42 jeeps and 300 motorbikes. As many as 66 surveillance teams – 21 in Bahawalpur, 26 Bahawalnagar, 19 in Rahim Yar Khan – are participating in locust combat operation especially in Cholistan area.

The Chief Secretary told officers that budget and other requirements would be brought into notice of Chief Minister Punjab and funds would be provided to districts after approval by the government. He asked the officer to keep close liaison with local farmers and continue awareness campaign preferably in regional languages.