FAISALABAD: Former Chief Election Commissioner of India Dr Manohar Singh Gill on Friday said that ties between Pakistan and India need to be strengthened with dialogue, people-to-people contact and trade in order to get benefit from each others experiences.
He addressed a special lecture on ‘Agricultural Development, Trade and Bilateral Relations’ at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) at Iqbal Auditorium. UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan and Agriculture Secretary Punjab Dr Ijaz Munir were also present on the occasion.
He said that dialogue and people-to-people contact were imperative to shun the differences among both the nations. He said that ties in the agriculture sector and trade would open up new horizon of the progress.
He was of the view that in Indian Punjab, Mandi Board had been established under which 1,200 model agri markets were functioning, buying the farmers produce at their doorstep.
It helped farming community to get rid of the exploitation of middlemen. The model in Pakistan would also become helpful in addressing the problems of farmers, he added.
He said the Indian government purchases all the wheat from every farmer with the support price. Indian Punjab agricultural per acre productivity is around double than Pakistani Punjab, he said and added Indian Punjab government was providing heavy subsidies on fertilizer, agri inputs and free electricity for agricultural use.
“We are also providing heavy loans to farming community so that they can use modern machineries for boosting up productivity,” he said.
He said that as many as 1.2 million tube wells were operating as 70 percent of land was being irrigated through tube wells whereas 30 percent through canal system in Indian Punjab. He stressed the need to conserve the water as it was becoming scarce across the world because of climate changes etc.
Talking about population, he said the increasing population was a real challenge for both countries. India population was 120 million in 1947 which has increased to 1.2 billion, he added.
Talking about women, he said that the women participation in the social and economic development was imperative to catch up the model world.
Talking about UAF, he said, “I am impressed to know that as many as 47 percent girls are studying at the UAF among the 16,000 students. The UAF is the mother of all agricultural institutions in the subcontinent that has played a pivotal role in bringing the green revolution,” he said.
Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Vice Chancellor UAF, said that the agricultural ties would help face up to the challenge of food security, adding that food insecurity was major challenge
in which scientists and researchers should pace up their efforts.
Dr Ijaz Munir said the Punjab government was taking all measures to raise agricultural production of the country. He said that agricultural experts must expedite efforts for the cause of the food security.