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September 15, 2020

Crackdown ordered on farmers involved in stubble burning


September 15, 2020

MULTAN: Commissioner Javed Akhtar Mehmood Monday ordered a crackdown on farmers involved in stubble burning.

The commissioner directed the Environment Protection Department to seal factories involved in air pollution in Multan, Vehari, Khanewal and Lodhran districts. Chairing a EPD performance review meeting, the commissioner directed Road Transport Authority officials and traffic police to jointly conduct operations against smoke-emitting vehicles.

He ordered officials to launch an awareness drive on smog and environmental pollution. He directed all Deputy Commissioners (DCs) of the division to launch a smog prevention campaign in their respective districts and activation of divisional and district smog committees.

He said the violators of environmental pollution should be trialed strictly. He warned EPD officials to complete scrutiny of the environmental feasibility report before the final construction. He said no leniency would be tolerated in this connection.

The commissioner ordered shifting of bricks kiln to zigzag technology on war footings. He said the EPD should play his vital role against environmental hazards.

Briefing the meeting, EPD deputy director Dr Zafar Iqbal said two factories involved in pollution have been sealed in industrial estate. The EPD has constituted an environmental squad in coordination with traffic police. He added.

LPP inks MoU with BZU in field of education: The Lodhran Pilot Project (LPP) and Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Monday inked a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for mutual cooperation in the field of education under public private partnership to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

Addressing an MoU signing ceremony, LPP chief executive Dr Abdul Saboor said the partnerships between educational institutions and development organisations are crucial because educational institutions are think tanks offering solutions to challenges and issues faced by the youth.

This is the sole responsibility of development organisations to engage the young and enable them through participation in different programmes to address the challenges. The MoU also include knowledge exchange and mutual capacity building and research. The LPP will the collaboration of the BZU will nurture leadership skills in the youth and strengthen previously formed peace clubs and students’ societies by the LPP.

The LPP will provide all technical and logistic support to BZU in conceiving, designing and implementing different projects to form students’ clubs and societies that are key in promoting peace and social cohesion in society.

The LPP through these clubs and societies will mentor young people by imparting important life-skills, peace building through sports programmes, safe charity, and communication skills and how to set up and run a students’ society.

Lauding the LPP efforts, BZU vice chancellor Prof Dr Mansoor Akbar Kundi said the LPP has provided students different opportunities of professional training in the past and they hope that the LPP will continue the same consideration towards the welfare of students in the future.

BZU RO Tahir Mehmood said they have a wonderful experience of working with LPP and currently LPP is disinfecting the BZU premises for a safe reopening of the university. The LPP through its “WASH Response in Communities Affected by Covid-19” programme with the support of UNICEF Pakistan is equipped with trainings to prepare Sodium Hypochlorite solution and WATA kit, has disinfected the classrooms, conference halls, administration offices and university premises to ensure a safe reopening for students.

‘South Punjab Agri Dept to make wheat calendar’: The South Punjab Agriculture Department has decided to make a wheat calendar for safe and secure return of the crop. The calendar would be made for the first time in the history. The wheat calendar would show year long activities for the betterment of the crop.

It was told by South Punjab Agriculture Secretary Saqib Ali while chairing a meeting of wheat yellow rust prevention held at the committee room of the South Punjab Agriculture Secretariat here on Monday.

The secretary said that the Punjab Seed Corporation had provided 9,000kg seed of new wheat variety Ghazi-19. He said that only yellow rust was resistant and additional wheat producing seed varieties would be encouraged to cultivate in the South Punjab. The Regional Agriculture Research Institute had developed a yellow rust resistant seed variety Ghazi-19, he told.

The 9,000kg pre basic seed of this variety was provided to the PSC for production, he informed. He said that unregistered pesticides without labeling usage instructions would not be allowed to spray on crops. These types of pesticides were not only health hazardous but also such crops were not fit for export, he added.

Saqib Ali directed the Agriculture Department to compile data on temperature and humidity from wheat sowing to harvesting because yellow rust directly links to humid weather and fluctuation in temperature.

He directed the agriculture officials to ensure availability of pesticides against yellow rust. If the required pesticides faced shortage in the market, then the concerned department would be held responsible, he warned. This was necessary to concerned departments to make foolproof planning for the swift availability of anti-fungal sprays in February next, he continued.

He advised the growers to use only recommended sprays against fungus. Senior agriculture officers, including Dr Lal Hussain Akhtar, Dr Muhammad Aslam, Shahzad Sabir, Naveed Asmat Kahloon and others were also present.

Rs 300b allocated to boost agriculture sector: Punjab Agriculture Secretary Wasif Khurshid Monday said the government has allocated Rs 300 billion to increase per acre yield potential and uplift the agriculture sector under the Prime Minister Agriculture Emergency Program.

Talking to reporters, the secretary said the Punjab Agriculture Department has accelerated work on the growth and uplift of wheat, paddy, sugarcane, oil, seed crops, establishment of model agriculture markets and water management schemes.

He said Rs 12.54 billion has been allocated under PMAEP for the wheat crop bringing considerable increase in per acre production. The Punjab government is spending Rs 8.37 billion for the uplift and bringing per acre increase in production in rice and sugarcane crops, Rs 5.11 billion for the promotion of oil and seed crops and Rs 28.59 billion on water management and alignment of watercourses.

Wasif said the government is spending Rs 21.27 billion for the establishment of model agriculture markets across the province and the scheme has covered majority districts in the province. The Punjab government has provided most advanced agriculture machinery to peasants on subsidy worth Rs 300 million. He said Rs 57.20 million has been distributed among farmers at Rs 2,000 per acre subsidy. At least 10, 000 watercourses are being improved and bricked across Punjab and farmers are provided laser land levelers on subsidy at Rs 250, 000 to each farmer per unit of laser land leveler, he maintained.