- High-level meeting held in CM Sindh House.
- Flood-hit farmers must be supported, says Bilawal.
- Floods caused Rs421 billion loss to the Sindh growers.
KARACHI: Foreign Minister and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has directed the Sindh government to start disbursement of cash for the seed the growers have purchased to grow the Rabi crop across the board within the next 20 days.
“The flood/rain has already caused huge loss to the growers and now they prepared their lands for Rabi crops, therefore they must be supported to meet the requirement of their agricultural inputs,” the foreign minister said presiding over a meeting at the CM House.
The meeting was attended by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, provincial ministers, Manzoor Wassan, Sharjeel Memon, Saeed Ghani, Nasir Shah, Mukesh Chawla, Murtaza Wahab, Rasool Bux Chandio, Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput, Chairman P&D Hassan Naqvi, PSCM Fayaz Jatoi, and Secretaries of different department.
The PPP chairman was told that the standing crops over an area of 3.6 million acres have been damaged in the recent floods, which caused Rs421 billion loss to the growers.
CM Shah said that to provide relief to farmers, the provincial government had decided to provide free inputs to the farmers.
“As a first step, an exercise is underway to compensate the farmers for wheat seed through cash transfers,” he said and added that they would be given Rs5,000 per acre.
The CM said that his government had provided Rs8.39 billion the federal government has pledged to contribute Rs4.7 billion. He added that the total requirement for the purpose was Rs13.5 billion.
To a question, the CM told the chairman that the provision of subsidy on fertiliser would be worked out once the funding commitments from the federal government were made. He added that Rs46 billion were required for this intervention.
The chairman was informed that the World Bank was supporting the farmers holding land up to 25 acres. At this, the PPP chairman directed the CM to give compensation for wheat seed to all farmers across the board regardless of the size of their landholding.
CM’s Adviser Manzoor Wassan told the meeting that wheat was sown over an area of 2.43 million acres.
CM Shah said that Rs45.51 billion would be required if fertiliser was given to the growers. He added that DAP and urea for wheat would cost Rs39.48 billion, the seed for oil crops Rs1.85 billion, and fertiliser (DAP and urea) for oil seed crops Rs41.8 billion.
The chairman formed a committee under Wassan with Sharjeel Memon and Syed Nasir Shah as members to collect and verify the data of farmers so that disbursement could be made at the earliest.
He said that the farmers should be sent text messages to transfer funds to their accounts or through the mobile phone cash system.
The PPP chairman said that keeping in view the impact of climate change there was a dire need to construct weather-resilient houses for flood-affected people so that they could survive even if another natural calamity like floods or heavy rains lashed them.
“We need houses that can withstand droughts, heavy downpours, storms, floods, and such other disasters.”
CM Shah briefed the PPP chairman that heavy downpours/floods have damaged 1.7 million houses fully and partially, creating an urgent need for shelters.
“The Sindh govt intends to immediately initiate rehabilitation efforts for the affected families, therefore we are finalizing a standard for housing reconstruction for the affected people,” the CM said.
At this Bilawal suggested that the houses should be weather-resilient so that they could withstand future calamities.