RAHIM YAR KHAN: Work on the Mango Research Station, Rahim Yar Khan is in limbo due to a lack of interest by the district administration and revenue department officials.

At the same time, some mango growers have expressed their reservation that the RYK Chamber businessmen want to ‘hijack’ the project.

Mango Research Institute, Multan Director Abdul Ghaffar Grewal who is looking after the project of Rahim Yar Khan, told Dawn that this project was initiated by former Punjab Mango Research Development Board chairman Chaudhry Naik Alam Dhiloon four years ago. The project had been on the agenda of the Annual Development Programme (ADP) for the last four years.

He said that in the last fiscal year 2020-21 there were no funds for this project due to which it was delayed. It had now been included in the current fiscal year and Rs60 million had been allocated out of the Rs200 million. He said the project would be completed in three years.

He said that on Aug 2 last he met the deputy commissioner, the additional deputy commissioner revenue and the assistant commissioner to discuss the project.

Sources in the agriculture department said Additional Secretary (Task Force) Agriculture Department South Punjab in a letter No SO(P)/SA/SP/1-31/2020 of Oct 27, 2020 wrote to the DC demanding land transfer for the establishment of the mango research station. The letter says the principal secretary to the Punjab chief minister has also circulated instructions vide letter No PS/PSCM(CMO)(D)/21/OT-4 of June 28 last with the directions to ensure the fast track implementation of the ADP 2021-22.

A site in Khanpur and second in RYK near Khawaja Fareed University of Engineering and Information Technology (KFUEIT) were declared unfit for the project but the principal scientist (horticulture) of Multan’s institute had submitted that Iqbalabad was the most suitable site for the establishment of the facility.

Some progressive mango growers including Bilal Israil Khan, Jamil Nasir, M.D Ganga and Rana Mujeeb Umair met the DC the other day and sought immediate allocation of 80 acre. DC Dr Khuram Shahzad assigned the duty to the AC.

Jamil Nasir told this correspondent that RYKCCI senior vice president Azam Shabbir and former president Abdul Raouf Mukhtar claimed that the MRSRYK was announced by the president of Pakistan last month at a mango exhibition in Islamabad.

He said the mango growers would look after the project with the coordination of the district administration.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2021

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