Larkana: Sindh Chamber of Agriculture (SCA) on Friday demanded of the federal and Sindh governments to provide compensation for all crops affected by locust since last year as both regimes failed to control this plague.
In a statement issued by Syed Siraj Auliya Rashdi on Saturday, SCA also demanded that all the revenue collections, including Land Tax, Agriculture Tax and Abiana must also be waived off by both the governments to compensate the growers and poor peasants.
SCA further said that there were 20 spraying aircraft along with much more necessary available machinery and equipment with the Plant Protection Department of the federal government for tackling the locust issue, whenever and wherever it erupted but today it had hardly any functional spraying aircraft which showed that relevant authorities considered that there would be no locust swarms anymore, hence, those aircraft should be abandoned.
The statement further said that it demonstrated the Plant Protection Department’s efficiency had deteriorated in due course of time and it had been rendered useless, which was highly condemnable and needed to be investigated thoroughly as to who was responsible for such a situation of the department.
SCA further said that as the Plant Protection Department of the federal government had become dysfunctional so it should be winded up and its, all assets be distributed equally among the provinces so that every province might deal with the situation according to their needs, ground realities and demands.
SCA further said that all the international agencies, including FAO and others, which had been supporting the federal government over the issue, must also take on board provincial government of Sindh to handle the issue independently, and last but not the least, the federal as well provincial governments should make public all the details of the financial releases and the expenses for containing and eradicating locusts in the entire country as well so that it could be known to the taxpayers how their hard-earned money had been spent, the statement concluded.
While talking to this scribe, Rashdi said: “If swarms of locusts are not eliminated forthwith, then it is apprehended that there will be a serious food crisis in the future.” He said locusts were more dangerous than COVID-19 for which government functionaries had spent all their energies to deal with them, but growers and tillers had been left at the mercy of locusts which was astonishing.