Punjab Assembly acknowledges Indian ‘supremacy’ in agriculture sector
By Kashif Hussain
LAHORE: The opposition and the treasury legislators in the Punjab Assembly have acknowledged the Indian ‘supremacy’ in the agriculture sector.
This was done because India’s agriculture produce had been more in the region of East Punjab than the Pakistani side of the province.
The House was in consensus over the issue of getting guidelines from India to boost up local production. The speaker advised the food minister, along with a parliamentary delegation, to visit the neighbouring country for this purpose.
During the general debate on wheat in the Punjab Assembly session on Friday, the participants and the speaker gave references of the good policies, methods and facilities in the Indian East Punjab.
They called it the food basket of the world and emphasised that India’s strategy in this sector should be keenly observed.
The speaker asked the food minister to visit the neighbouring country on his own expense, despite the current state of their relations. He further asked the minister to seek the federal government’s approval in this regard.
When the speaker did not say the name of the neighbouring country, a participant of the debate from the treasury benches and former food minister Chaudhry Iqbal Gujjar identified the name of the neighbouring country as India. Which the speaker repeatedly avoided naming.
The speaker also advised Food Minister Bilal Yasin that his ministry should focus on research in the field of agriculture, as it was important in improving the local production of different crops. He said that in his opinion and the House as well, research in the agriculture sector was vital to get better results in the future.
During the debate, Chaudhry Iqbal Gujjar said that though he had no wish to praise India but the House must accept the reality.”We should say what is right and acknowledge the fact that India’s agriculture produce was greater than Pakistan.”
He said that the Indian side of Punjab was smaller than the Pakistani side, but it was called and recognised as the food basket of the world, despite it’s limited size, due to the large production of different crops.
He also highlighted some problems facing the farmers, tenants and the consumers of local crops, especially the lower classes.
He suggested that the government should provide subsidy on wheat and flour separately.
Opposition member Sibtain Khan of the PTI said that he fully endorsed the speaker’s advice regarding the visit to India, but it should be confirmed that the delegation members pay the expenditures from their pockets.
He further stated that when the members could contest elections on their own expenses then why they could not finance their trip to India.
The speaker immediately approved the idea and suggested that the delegation members should also go to India on their own expenses.
Sibtain Khan also demanded that the government increase wheat rates from Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,500 per mount, as the farmers were facing inflation. It was unfortunate that wheat prices were being fixed on a yearly basis owing to which the farmers suffered financially, he added.
Opposition Leader Mehmoodur Rasheed urged the government that it should announce a package of subsidy on all in-puts for small farmers.
He warned the government that a flour crisis was looming in the province again as wheat production this year had remained two million tonnes less than the target. He also criticised the harmful pesticides being used during cultivation.
The speaker adjourned the session until Monday. The speaker announced to resume the general debate on wheat support price in the next session.
Earlier, the Punjab Assembly session under the chairmanship of Speaker Rana Mohammad Iqbal started one hour and 16 minutes late from its scheduled time.
Two newly elected MPAs, namely Khurram Wattoo from the PPP and Zubair Khan from the PML-N, took oath as assembly members. They also assured the House that they would perform to the best of their abilities, for the masses of Punjab, as members of the provincial assembly.
Later, Hameeda Waheeduddin during the question-answer session faced trouble in giving replies to the queries owing to communication barriers, after which some of the legislators, especially a female members’ group from the treasury, tried to embarrass her. Courtesy Daily Times
Published in ZaraiMedia.com