PM okays Phase-II locust control plan

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Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday visited the National Locust Control Center and attended a briefing on the pace of locust control operation.
Federal Ministers Syed Fakhar Imam, Asad Umar, Senator Shibli Faraz, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, SAPM for Information and Broadcasting Lt-Gen (Retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa, SAPM Dr Shahbaz Gill, Chairman NDMA and senior officers attended the briefing.
Chief Ministers of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Chief Secretary Balochistan participated via video link.
The Prime Minister was informed that National Action Plan for Locust Control Phase-I has been completed.
Engineer-in-Chief Pakistan Army/National Coordinator NLCC Lt-Gen Moazzam Ijaz gave a detailed briefing on locust control measures in affected areas of the country.
The Prime Minister was also briefed about the coordinated efforts being made for monitoring, survey and control, inter-organizational coordination, resource allocation and mobilization and awareness campaign for locust control at national, provincial and district levels.
The meeting was informed that due to the trans-boundary nature of locust swarm movement; close liaison with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and affected countries in the region was being maintained to take timely pre-emptive measures. The Prime Minister appreciated the governments of China, Japan and UK for providing technical and other assistance for locust control.
It was informed that a locust swarm movement is expected from Horn of Africa via Iran and another from India, for which necessary control measures are in place.
Prime Minister accorded in-principle approval for Phase-II of the National Action Plan for Locust Control. It was also decided that the affected farmers would be compensated through this package.
He appreciated timely and coordinated response of federal and provincial governments, including Pakistan Army, for effectively controlling locust attack and use of indigenously developed equipment.
Prime Minister stated that locust attack combined with Covid-19 was a huge challenge for Pakistan. The PM said that the Government would undertake every possible effort for locust control since it involved food security of the country. The Prime Minister emphasized that a coordinated national response of federal and provincial governments and organisations is required to cope with the expected locust swarm so that crop production is not affected.

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