NAWABSHAH   -   Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that all steps were being taken to prevent the movement of Locust towards populated areas and agriculture department has formed teams to monitor movement of locust round the clock.

Talking to media after taking view of preventive steps taken by administration against attack of Locust on crops at Khadhar near Nawabshah on Friday, the CM said that though quantum of locust was not much nor it is more disastrous, aerial spray is being conducted in affected areas and awareness is being created among masses about locust.

The chief minister said that agriculture department has formed 19 teams those on receiving information were making arrangements for spray and taking other steps at the reported site in order to prevent further dissemination of the crop eating pest.

He said that locust invasion had also occurred in the tenure of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto during which 17 aircraft were purchased for aerial spray to save the crops.

He said that out of those six planes were still with federal government. He said that one of those planes was given to Sindh government for spray that was sent back due to being defective.

He said it was learnt that two planes would be available tomorrow for spray at locust affected areas, which after spray would help prevent movement of locust towards populated areas. He said that aerial spray on populated areas would be conducted when required to avoid its adverse effects.

Briefing the Chief Minister at Nawabshah Airport, Commissioner Shaheed Benazirabad, Nisar Ahmed Memon, said that swarms of locust entered Shaheed Benazirabad from Jamshoro and Dadu and preventive measures were taken in time and emergency steps were adopted to minimise the losses.

He said that agriculture department was conducting pesticides aerial spray and awareness campaign for growers was also running side by side. Commissioner said that major areas of Shaheed Benazirabad were cleared from locust and added that no big loss was caused to crops there.

He said that apart from distribution of leaflets among public for awareness, control rooms were also set up at district and divisional level where officials from agriculture department were posted.

Provincial Minister for Agriculture Muhammad Ismail Rahu, DIG Mazhar Nawaz and officials of agriculture department were also present on the occasion.