WEB DESK: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Friday said prosperity of Pakistan was closely linked with the prosperity of its farmers and the Kissan Package was an unprecedented financial support to them in the country’s 68-year history.
Addressing a cheque-distribution ceremony here under the Kisaan Package, the Prime Minister said his government is committed to facilitating farmers as agriculture is the backbone of country’s economy.
Federal Minister for Information Pervaiz Rasheed and Minister for Water and Power Khwaja Asif were also present. The Prime Minister launched the Package at Lodhran on the invitation of Pakistan Muslim League’s (N) local leaders including MNA Khan Abdur Rehman Kanju, Siddique Baloch and Ahmed Khan Baloch.
The Prime Minister said that the government had reduced the prices of diesel and electricity rates for farmers to help them lessen their cost of production. He said the prices of cotton, rice and other food commodities had decreased in international markets; however, he said, the government despite constraint of resources announced the Kisaan Package worth Rs 341 billion for the uplift of the country’s farmers. The Prime Minister said the government of Pakistan Muslim League (N) was serving the masses considering it a noble cause.
He said Lodhran was a strong citadel of PML(N) and told the gathering comprising farmers and PML(N) supporters from Lodhran that he would always remember their love they expressed for the party in elections. He said the farmers of Lodhran cultivated cotton at 1,68,536 acres and rice at 5,695 acres of land in the district, adding that the farmers of Lodhran would get Rs 870 million as financial support.
The Prime Minister announced establishment of an agriculture university and construction of two flyovers in Lodhran. He said development projects worth Rs 2.5 billion would be carried out in Lodhran instead of the earlier decided amount of Rs 2 billion. The Prime Minister who had earlier announced the Kisaan Package on September 15 said he intended to start distribution of cheques within a week; however those who did not want farmers to become self-sufficient halted the launch of the Package.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed to ensure that there is no delay in dispensation of cheques to farmers. He lauded Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Bosan for his efforts to formulate the Kisaan Package. He said the farmers would also be given easy loans to install solar tubewells at their lands. He announced that Lodhran will be connected with Karachi- Lahore motorway, and the areas including Gerey Waal and Makhdoom Ali would be provided gas supply on a priority basis.
The Prime Minister said loadshedding of electricity would be ended from the country by the end of year 2017. Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Bosan said this was for the very first time in the country’s history that a government was providing direct compensation to farmers, after realizing their difficulties.
He said the Kisaan package worth Rs 341 billion comprises four segments, including financial support to farmers, cost reduction of produce, provision of agricultural loans and simplifying the procedure of loan acquisition. He said the prominent support measures include provision of Rs 5,000 per acre to farmers, having land up to 12.5 acres, a reduction in mark-up rate for rice and cotton growers by two percent and increase in Production Index Units (PIU) of agricultural land from Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000.
The Minister said farmers would be able to get loans for setting up solar tube-wells and would be given exemption on income tax for three years. Member National Assembly from Lodhran Khan Abdur Rehman Kanju said 34,000 farmers of Lodhran would benefit from the Kisaan Package.
He said owing to its people-friendly policies, Pakistan Muslim League (N) had achieved 52 out of 67 seats of Union Council of Lodhran. He drew the Prime Minister’s attention towards the longstanding demands of Lodhran, including provision of electricity to Lodhran’s distant areas, establishment of degree colleges and a university, upgradation of Lodhran-Multan section of N-5 motorway and declaration of Lodhran as tax-free zone. The Prime Minister gave away support cheques among the farmers from the Punjab.
Earlier on his arrival, Punjab Secretary Agriculture Shehryar Sultan briefed the Prime Minister that facilitation centres had been set up at 33 districts of the Punjab. These centres, from today onward, will start dispensation of cheques among the farmers through the counters of National Bank of Pakistan and NADRA. The Prime Minister was informed that 250 farmers on daily basis would be given the support cheques which would benefit 1.2 million farmers across the Punjab.
Source: Business Recorder