MULTAN: The Punjab Agriculture Extension and Pest Warning and Quality Control have accepted the challenge of increasing cotton production with the cooperation of farmers.
Quality seed and proper guidance would be provided to the farmers. Efforts will be made to bring more land under cotton cultivation this year for which unprecedented prices are being offered to the farmers. Director General Agriculture (Extension) Punjab Dr Anjum Ali Butter and Director General Pest Warning Zafar Yab Haider have stated this while addressing the members of Cotton Ginners Association. They assured the farmers that well-germinated, certified and heat resistant seed would be supplied to the farmers as 3,50,000 maunds of tested cotton seed were available, including 45,000 maunds of approved varieties being marketed by the Punjab Seed Corporation.
Butter said that the Punjab Agriculture Department had finalised a plan to increase cotton production this year. He said that special focus would be paid on the pre-sowing and after sowing stages along with effective pest control for which the print and electronic media will be effectively used to guide the cotton growers. He assured that the cotton committees would be constituted at the tehsil and district levels with the consent of the PCGA. He said the department had a good stock of urea fertilisers while the DAP fertilisers would be made available in the market.
He directed the extension and pest warning wings of the agriculture department to prepare the inventory of cotton-specific pesticides for effective planning to avoid speculators. They said that there would be no water shortage this year.
He said that cotton contaminants include common shopping bags, hair of women who pick cotton manually, threads of nylon bags used for storing cotton, sand, dust, stalks and leaves of the cotton plant. These contaminants not only affect the quality of cotton but also make it expensive for the textile mills.
A survey by the International Textile Manufacturers Federation puts the global figure for contamination-related losses to $200 million a year. There is a dire need to train the female cotton pickers before the start of the picking season. They would also be provided with a grey cloth to pick the cotton without any charge because they usually use plastic bags or dupattas to collect it. They suggested that the cotton growers should avoid sowing cotton in March due to unfavourable weather.
383 booked for power theft: On the report of the Mepco authorities, police have registered cases against 383 consumers for power theft in the south Punjab districts during the current month.
Talking to reporters here on Monday, Mepco Chief Executive Engineer Tahir Mehmood said that the company unearthed pilferage of 2.2 million units of electricity and imposed Rs 30.4 million fine on power pilferers. He told that the Mepco teams caught 1,041 consumers for stealing electricity during the current month in 13 south Punjab districts. The power theft was detected in Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Vehari, Bahawalpur, Sahiwal, Rahimyar Khan, Muzaffargarh, Bahawalnagar and Khanewal, he told. He said that nine FIRs were registered against the violators. As many as 23 industrial consumers of Multan and Bahawalnagar were also found guilty of power theft, he maintained.
He informed that 862 domestic consumers were found involved in power theft in Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Vehari, Bahawalpur, Sahiwal, Rahimyar Khan, Muzaffargarh, Bahawalnagar and Khanewal. The domestic consumers were found involved in the theft of 1,930,000 electricity units and the Mepco imposed Rs 20.9 million fine on them, he added.