MPAs demand comprehensive agriculture policy

Post Source: Staff Reporter – DailyTimes 

* PA members criticise role of marketing committees’ chairmen
* MPA asks for replacement of current agriculture marketing system

Staff Report

LAHORE: Punjab Assembly members criticised the province’s agriculture marketing system during Tuesday’s proceedings and demanded the formulation of comprehensive agricultural policies and an end to the current system.

The members asked if new chairmen of marketing committees had been appointed and what were their roles. MPA Syed Hasan Murtaza said the previously-appointed chairmen did not perform any duties and were the most lethargic people around, yet they enjoyed the facilities of an office, official vehicles and staff. He said their secretaries were the ones actually enjoying the authority, as they had to be contacted for any official work instead of the chairmen. The members also asked about the government’s steps regarding improvement of the agriculture marketing system and new agricultural policies.

Replacement: Regarding the existing marketing system and the government’s agricultural policy, MPA Chaudhry Javed Ahmed said the system was outdated and should be replaced as soon as possible to facilitate the masses and farmers. He said the Punjab government should devise a comprehensive agricultural policy if it has not done so already.

Defending the allegations levelled against marketing committee’s chairmen, Punjab Agriculture Minister Ahmed Ali Aulakh said a chairman is authorised to perform certain duties under the rules and regulations, however, the chairmen’s posts of all the committees were currently vacant. He said the chairmen would be elected after the local bodies elections.

Benefits: Aulakh said as far as the government’s agricultural policy is concerned, they are taking positive steps to improve the sector. He said establishment of cold storages, export of fruits and provision of environment-friendly tractors were a result of the government’s policies. He said the government was also taking steps to provide maximum benefit to farmers by reducing the role of the middleman and procuring crops directly from the farmers. He added that legislation was also being made in this regard.

The House also unanimously passed resolutions tabled by the opposition for benefiting the public. The resolutions included free allotment of three- and five-marla residential plots to the needy besides providing them loans on easy terms so they can build their houses on these plots. Deputy opposition leader Muhammad Yar Hiraj presented the resolutions. MPA Naseem Lodhi also presented a resolution regarding immediate steps for the provision of National Cadet Corps training at government schools. The House passed both the resolutions unanimously.

The opposition also suggested amendments to the Punjab Public Service Commission and Punjab Office of the Ombudsman bills, seeking that the offices be bound to send their annual reports to the House within a specific period of time instead of the current suggestion of submissions “as early as possible”.

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