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July 12, 2020

Farmer bodies slam move to appoint ‘junior’ official as PSC MD

Lahore

July 12, 2020

LAHORE : farmer bodies have deplored the move to appoint a junior official and “accused of malpractices” as managing director of state-owned Punjab Seed Corporation (PSC).

Pakistan Kissan Itehad (PKI) said here Saturday, PSC had been the best seed producing and processing public sector seed corporation in Punjab. It was not only catering to the seed requirement of all crops of Punjab province but also of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh province. People still remember and recall the quality of “Sher Marka” seed of cotton and wheat.

But, then the performance of PSC gradually declined to the level that its share in cottonseed production has now shrunk to less than two per cent and so is in case of wheat seed, said PKI president.

On the other side, it made the prices of its seeds higher than the private seed companies under the control of Deputy Managing Director Dr Ghazanfar Ali Khan. who in reality is a BS-18 officer in the Department of Agriculture, he claimed.

Dr Ghanazafar Ali got his PhD in biotechnology and served the Research Wing of Agriculture Department as research scientist; his post is botanist and was posted at Cotton Research Station, Vehari.

He managed to get posted on deputation in the Purchase Cell of Agriculture Department, Education Department, Lahore, etc. during 2012-2013, which is quite an irrelevant post for a scientist or a person with the qualification of PhD in biotechnology.

Later on, he was posted an AS (Planning) Department of Agriculture and nowadays he is holding a charge of deputy managing director of Punjab Seed Corporation, said Khalid Khokhar.

The PKI president was of the view that enormous resources were spent on training to make him a productive scientist and to contribute to the national development in his area of specialty i.e., cotton breeding/biotechnology.

As deputy managing director, his performance was not only worst rather not even satisfactory, the PKI president said. Dr Ghanazafar Ali increased the rate of wheat seed drastically and caused unrest among growers.

Similarly, he raised cotton seed prices by 300 per cent, and with the intervention and protest of Pakistan Kissan Itehad, PSC had to drop the prices, he said. Khokar added it is heard some forces are working to give the charge of MD to Dr Ghaznfar which would, unfortunately, be a pathetic decision.

The PKI president said that Dr Ghazanfar is a scientist, and the province should take benefit of his expertise in the field of cotton to address the present cotton crises.

Therefore, he must be sent back to his parent department to serve the farming community, the PKI leader maintained.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim Mughal, chairman, Agri-Forum Pakistan, also criticised the “inefficient management of PSC.”

The PSC led by Dr Ghazanfar hurt the repute of PSC by introducing costly and poor quality seeds, he alleged. He asked the high-ups to take action against Dr Ghazanfar and carrying out investigation into his poor performance.