Sharif woos Lodhran with Rs 2.5b package, Tareen cries foul

Sialkot , November 06 : Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif gesturing hand to the gathering at Kisan Package cheque distribution ceremony. NNI Photo

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived in Punjab’s Lodhran district on Friday to distribute cheques among farmers as a part of Kissan package and also announced a Rs2.5 billion development package for the district.

The PM’s visit to the district comes as the Election Commission of Pakistan announced the schedule for by-polls in Lodhran’s NA-154 constituency according to which polling will be held in the constituency on Dec 23.

Speaking after the cheque distribution ceremony, the premier said that his government acknowledges the hardships a farmer goes through to produce food and exportable crops for the country and for that reason had announced the historic Rs 341 billion relief package for the community.

“But you all know who tried to stop government from speedy implementation of this historic package and still claims to represent the poor people of country,” the PM told farmers.

The PM also announced a special Rs 2.5billion development package for Lodhran and said that the way people of the area have expressed their love for PML-N by voting for the party again and again, the party too will pay back in the same way.

He said that the scheme for affordable and cost effective ‘solar tube well’ has been approved.

Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed accompanied him during the visit.

The Kissan package, announced in September, is aimed at providing cash support of Rs 5,000 with immediate effect to the growers of cotton and rice as a direct relief. The amount will be disbursed among the farmers owning a maximum of 12.5 acres of land.

Interest-free loans for farmers with 12 acres or less to install solar tubewells or convert the existing ones into solar. Mark-up on the loans will be paid by the federal government.

The government pledges to provide relaxation in turnover tax to rice millers as compensation during 2015-16 to minimise their losses. Similarly, there would be a tax holiday on income tax for the cold chain industry trading in agricultural products, fruits, vegetables and fish.

Motorway for Sialkot:

The PM flew straight to Sialkot from Lodhran and also distributed cheques among the farmers. He also announced to build a motorway in the city.

“We have always served you and this time we are giving you a gift in the form of motorway, this road will be built between Hasan Abdal, Havelian and Mansehra till China border,” announced Nawaz.

Sharif said that Sialkot contributes about $2 billion to the national exchequer and it’s time to pay the city back.

The PM said that the several energy products are under construction and the government will bring thousands of megawatt electricity into the system by 2017.

“We are working towards reducing the cost of energy so that the farmers and industrialists can reap maximum benefits from their produce,” claimed Sharif.

Tareen writes to CEC:

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Khan Tareen wrote a letter to Chief Election Commissioner to stop Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from visiting Lodhran ahead of NA-154 by-elections.

Tareen, in the letter maintained that PM’s visit is a violation of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) code of conduct as the PM will announce a Rs 10 billion special development package for the district.

The PTI leader urged the CEC to take immediate notice of this attempt of ‘pre-poll rigging’.

“You will agree that this is a blatant case of pre-poll rigging. The development package is meant only and only to influence the by-election in favour of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz candidate,” the letter states.