LAHORE, June 23 (APP): Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad
Shehbaz Sharif Thursday said that Prime Minister Muhammad
Nawaz Sharif, first time in the history of the country, had
announced an excellent package for the welfare of farmers
and increasing agri production.

He expressed these views while addressing a function held
in his honour by Pakistan Kissan Ittehad with regard to taking
exemplary steps for farmers at a local hotel.

He congratulated the farmers that today they were meeting
at Mall Road in a peaceful atmosphere instead of protest and the
problems of the farmers were being discussed in a pleasant

The chief minister said the Punjab government had also
given a historic package of Rs 100 billion for the prosperity
of farmers and development of agriculture. He said that due to
these packages, the agriculture would be promoted in Pakistan
and the country would become prosperous.

The Chief Minister said that the Prime Minister had
recovered due to blessings of Allah Almighty and prayers of
crores of Pakistanis and farmers. One day ago his operation,
he held meetings with regard to budget and economic council
through video link at Pakistan High Commission in Britain,
he added.

Shehbaz Sharif said that during budget meeting, he was also
present in the High Commission.

He said that the Prime Minister directed the Federal Minister
for Finance and Cabinet members in his presence as well as
the presence of others to take special steps for facilitating
the farmers as farmers of Pakistan were facing difficulties
and great loss had been caused to them. The PM directed to
reduce the prices of agri implements, fertilizers and electricity,
he added.

He said the Punjab government had put its 50 percent share
in the package announced by federal government and would
cooperate and put its share in future as well.

He said that federal government had given Rs 5000 per acre
as compensation to rice and cotton cultivators of 12.5 acre and
the Punjab government had put its 50 percent share in it but
unfortunately no one other put share in it. He expressed the
hope that this time other provinces would also put their share.
He said the Punjab government had also evolved a programme
of provision of interest free loans to farmers having up to 12.5
acre land and hundred percent markup on these loans would be
borne by the Punjab government.

He said that five billion rupees had been allocated for
cotton research while billions of rupees earmarked for agri
implements. He said the Punjab government would spend 50
billion rupees in 2016-17 and 50 billion more rupees during
next financial year under Kissan Package. He said that an agri
commission was being set up for resolving problems of the
farmers in the province which would include representatives of
farmers and with their consultation, steps would be taken for
the development of agriculture and welfare of farmers. The
Chief Minister said that he would be the head of agri commission.

Shehbaz Sharif said the government was fully aware of difficulties
of farmers and the damage caused to crops of cotton and rice
during last two years. He said that sugarcane cultivators had
been made payments at the rate of Rs 180 per maund in Punjab
while the price of sugarcane was brought to Rs 150 in Sindh.

He said that former president of Pakistan caused a great loss
to the farmers in Sindh.

“We were also under pressure but we ensured payment to
the farmers,” he added.

He said it was lamentable that Agriculture University and
research institutions did not discharge their duties with
regard to agri research and now these institutions would have
to give results. He said that seeds of crops giving maximum
production would have to be produced so that Pakistan could become prosperous and become able to export its agri produce. He said that Pakistan was an agrarian country but it had to import cotton during previous year.

He said that national development had reduced one percent
due to destruction of cotton crop. He said that farmers would be
given their rights and provided relief in interest free loans,
fertilizers, agri implements and under other heads.

Shehbaz Sharif said that issue of arrears of electricity bills
would be resolved with federal government with their consultation
but they would have to promise that decision in this regard would
be implemented in letter and spirit and no delaying tactics would
be used.

He said that soon he would talk to the federal government
along with their representative delegation.

He said that no one was in favour of trade with India but
farmers would have to increase production through work hard.
The Chief Minister said he considered that if farmers increased
production then there would be no need of importing anything from
India. He said that he was also against trade with India.

He said that at present it was not proper to talk with
regard to agri income tax but expressed the hope that this
problem would be resolved amicably.

Shehbaz Sharif warned sugar mills, as could not pay dues
of sugarcane to the farmers despite clear orders, to make
payments to the farmers within 15 days otherwise they would be
sent to jail. He said that he would not allow anyone to usurp
the right of farmers and the sugar mill owners failing to make
payments to the farmers would also celebrate Eid in jail.
Rana Sanaullah said that some elements tried to instigate
farmers against government but Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz
Sharif and Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif had won the
hearts of farmers by resolving their problems and said that
today farmers were praising them and this ceremony had also
been held for them.

President Kissan Ittehad Khalid Khokhar said the steps
announced for the prosperity of farmers in the federal and
provincial budgets due to the personal efforts of Chief
Minister Shehbaz Sharif was a proof to the fact that Shehbaz
Sharif loved farmers.

Provincial Ministers Farrukh Javed, Yawar Zaman, MNA
Iftikhar Nazir, Chairman Pakistan Kissan Ittehad Chaudhry
Muhammad Akram and a large number of farmers were present
on the occasion.