MULTAN: The Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) Wednesday urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to compensate farmers, whose crops were hit by locust attack.
Talking to reporters, PKI president Khalid Khokhar said the PKI had started giving wake up calls to the government eight months before when locust first appeared in agriculture fields after travelling from Indian deserts.
He said the Punjab government as well as the federal Plant Protection Department have failed in taking timely actions against the locust swarms. He said even the federal government has avoided releasing funds for purchasing aircraft for aerial sprays or hiring.
The government had devised no serious strategy since the arrival of locust swarms or hiring human resources to combat the pest, he maintained. Khalid said the desert locust is invading crops and orchards in the central and south Punjab and again government officials are inactive. He said the locust attack has ruined cotton crop, maize, green fodder and other crops, including mango orchards at wider scale. If it continues it will lead us to a famine situation in the country, he said.
He said the grim situation has created threats to livestock industry, fodder, particularly those small growers and families who have entire livelihoods and dependency upon such animals and its milk production. The cotton crop sowing has been reduced considerably due to shortage of seed and its poor quality, he mainatained.
He said now the locust has attacked the cotton crop and started eating the white gold at a premature stage.
The farmers have no seed left in their stock for replanting of crops, he maintained. Similarly other Kharif crops like maize, pulses and guara have been damaged, he said. He accused the federal Department of Plant Protection officials of ignoring the plight of farmers in face of locust attack. He said the PKI condemns the lethargic attitude of the government towards this issue of food security, which could damage the economy and food security many times more than the coronavirus.
He urged the government, departments concerned for taking serious measures to protect the cash crop cotton from locust attack.
Efforts underway to trace bodies of 2 drowned kids: The Rescue-1122 search team is making all-out efforts to trace bodies of two kids, who drowned in Shujabad canal 36 hours ago.
District Officer Rescue 1122 Dr Kalim said a rickshaw fell into the canal at Shjujabad canal bridge on Tuesday night. As a result, a five-year-old Zain Tanvir and ten-year-old Khalid Noor drowned in the canal. The water flow of the canal is fast and rescue teams are facing difficulties in tracing bodies.