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Press Gallery: Opposition Slams Punjab Govt Over Wheat Procurement Policy

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LAHORE: In a fiery session of the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday, the opposition lambasted the provincial government for its failure to procure wheat from farmers at fair prices. Warning of potential street protests, opposition members expressed solidarity with farmers aggrieved by the government’s wheat policy.

Embarrassment engulfed the treasury benches as ministers and secretaries remained conspicuously absent during critical discussions. Senior lawmaker Sami Ullah Khan criticized the bureaucracy’s lackadaisical attitude towards member inquiries, while Education Minister Rana Sikandar Hayat issued an apology for misinformation provided by his department.

Deputy Speaker Zaheer Iqbal Channar voiced dissatisfaction over the absenteeism of ministers and secretaries, questioning the prospects of progress if such behavior persisted. He sternly warned that such negligence would not be tolerated, asserting their mandatory presence for agenda items.

Amidst the turmoil, Education Minister Rana Sikandar Hayat disclosed plans to introduce a teacher recruitment policy and establish high schools in every union council. Additionally, he addressed concerns regarding the operation of schools in deteriorating buildings, assuring a comprehensive plan to address the issue.

During debates on wheat procurement prices, opposition lawmakers denounced the government’s policy as detrimental to the agriculture sector, warning of dire consequences for farmers. Opposition Leader Ahmed Khan Bhachar launched a scathing critique, accusing the government of betraying farmers’ interests through flawed policies.

Concluding the heated debate, Food Minister Bilal Yaseen vehemently denied accusations of an anti-farmer agenda, emphasizing the government’s highest purchase rate in Punjab. He pledged unwavering support for farmers and outlined plans for a farmer’s card to resolve fertilizer issues.

Meanwhile, former Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and PPP central leader Nadeem Afzal Chan urged the Punjab government to emulate Sindh’s lead by announcing a support price of Rs 4,000 per 40 kg. Chan warned of potential protests if the government failed to meet farmers’ demands, underscoring the PPP’s commitment to agricultural welfare.

Chan criticized successive governments for neglecting farmers’ needs, emphasizing the pivotal role of agriculture in Pakistan’s stability and prosperity. He called for the government to purchase surplus wheat and denounced imports over utilizing existing stocks, advocating for a symbiotic relationship between farmers and urban economies.

 

Hassan Naqvi
Hassan Naqvi
Hassan Naqvi is an award-winning digital, print, and broadcast investigative journalist who is the co-founder of The Scoop. He also hosts his web shows 'The Scoop' and 'The Hassan Naqvi Show'.

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