ISLAMABAD              -            National Disaster Management Authority Chairman Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal has said that the NDMA is planning to purchase aircraft for aerial spray of pesticides on crops to counter the locusts attack.

Talking to a private news channel, he said the Plant Protection Institution had some aeroplanes for the purpose, which it could not maintain for some reasons. However, a secretary level committee had granted permission to acquire 15 new planes and an aircraft for proper spray on the crops so that locusts threat could be minimized in days to come.  All possible steps had been taken to enhance the efficiency of the Plant Protection Institution, he added.  To a question, Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal said the neighbouring country India was suffering more from the locusts attack than Pakistan. There was weak production of crops in some parts of Sindh, Balochistan, and Punjab, he added.

To another question, he said the role of institutions concerned for the protection of crops was commendable.

The shortage of pilots and aircraft would be resolved soon, which would help conduct aerial spray, he added.

He said Pakistan could face another threat of locusts from Africa during the month of July and August. He, however, said all available resources would be utilized to counter such threats in the target districts of Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab.