LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly session convened by the governor at Aiwan-i-Iqbal on Monday discussed issues faced by the agriculture sector here on Monday.

Proceedings of the budget session, which met after a two-day break, was chaired by Khalil Tahir Sindhu and began with a delay of around three hours from its scheduled time of 2pm.

MPA Tahir Jameel lamented the meager budget allocation for the agriculture sector.

Recalling the subsidy the government used to offer to the farmers for acquiring farm tools, he regretted the scheme now stood withdrawn.

He said the chief minister had promised to end the fertiliser shortage in the province within a week but no practical step had so far been taken in this regard as long queues of farmers were still being seen outside the dealers’ shops.

He also questioned the performance of Ayub Agriculture Research Institute, saying the scientists there were giving no results as the country was forced to import pulses.

Earlier, former speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal called for promoting the national language by using it for the assembly proceedings. He insisted that the talk of suspending rules of the house should also be in Urdu.

Mirza Javed spoke against what he alleged was the rule of extortionists at Shahpur Kanjran animal market, claiming that Rs2,500 per truck were being collected from the traders bringing sacrificial animals to the market. He also alleged that Rs500 per cow and Rs200 per goat were being collected from the seller and purchaser there.

At this Mr Sindhu, the panel of chairman, directed the administration to display flexes inscribed with tax rates in the market by Monday night.

Jaleel Ahmed Sharaqpuri demanded that the government offer solar panels on easy installments through banks for the farmers instead of giving Rs2,000 per family as subsidy on higher power and petroleum tariff. The step, he expected, would also help curtail power theft.

Ms Mehwish Sultana supported Mr Sharaqpuri’s suggestion, arguing that India offered free electricity to its farmers. She demanded intensive research on olive production to achieve self-sufficiency in it.

Later, the chair put of the proceedings for Thursday afternoon.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2022

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