Wattoo censures Punjab govt for ‘anti-farmers policy’

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Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, President Punjab chapter of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has castigated the Punjab government for its continuous anti-farmers policy since it assumed the reign of the province.

In a statement on Tuesday, Wattoo said the latest manifestation of such policy was in the district Muzaffargarh where it intended to acquire farmland for setting up coal-based power plants.

He said the Punjab government failed to understand the simple logic of the availability of sufficient government’s barren land in the area and yet determined to deprive the poor farmers from their land holdings, their only source of livelihood.

He said that the government was pushing the farmers in a tight corner and they may resort to extreme action like blocking the national highway or march the provincial capital to press the government for the acceptance of their demands.

He said that the provincial government should give priority to use the government land in the region for the power generation projects which were important to overcome the energy shortage in the country required for running the wheels of the economy.

He pointed out that the development strategy should be in harmony with the imperatives of social and development notions including climate’s that would ensure the sustainable development which was the acceptable development strategy in the world today.

He called upon the government to hold negotiations with the farmers to work out a mutually agreed formula that was suitable to the farmers and for the proposed power projects.

He said that if it was absolutely important to acquire the land then the farmers should be given compensation on the market price of the land which was much higher what the government was unilaterally offering based on its own assessment.