Jalalpur Canal project to usher in a new era of agri activity: Minister

LAHORE (INP): Government of the Punjab has planned Jalalpur Irrigation project, a new non-perennial irrigation system for enhancing the agricultural produce in Pindadan Khan and Khaushab areas. The concept of providing irrigation supplies to this area is not new and has been in consideration since 1930. The proposed canal will off take from the left bank of Rasul Barrage.  This was told by Punjab Minister for Irrigation Amanat Ullah Khan Shadikhel while presiding over a departmental meeting. The minister said that proposed Jalalpur project will enhance agricultural production by providing irrigation supplies to 170,000 acres of land. The proposed canal is 115 km long with designed discharge of 1350 cusecs and it will underpass the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway and a culvert has already been provided for that. The canal will have a distribution system of 23 distributary channels, 10 minor canals and more than 780 hydraulic structures of various kinds. 

Amanat Ullah Khan Shadikhel told that the project would benefit over 225,000 rural people spread over 80 villages in the project area and it is worthwhile to mention here that most of the beneficiaries are small farmers. The project also includes a number of water supply schemes to provide drinking water to various settlements in the area. It is worth-mentioning that the aquifer in the area is brackish and not fir for drinking or irrigation. 

Provincial minister said that the Asian Development Bank carried out the feasibility study in November 2016 under a Project Preparatory Technical Assistance and now the detailed design activities for the project have been completed. The total project outlay is Rs. 33 billion with the lion's share of funding coming from the Asian Development Bank.




Saarc Chamber body meets today


LAHORE (Staff Reporter): Stage is set for a high-level SAARC Chamber 73rd Executive Committee and 22nd General Assembly meetings of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation's Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Islamabad on Tuesday (today). Talking to media here on Monday, SAARC Chamber's Pakistan chapter Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik said that both meetings will be chaired by the SAARC Chamber President Suraj Vaidya separately. Vice presidents from member countries, including India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Maldive, Bhutan and Pakistan along with their delegations will attend the meetings. "The meetings will finalise chamber's proposed initiatives to be undertaken in the current year, while the formation of a China business council will also be approved unanimously after taking all the stakeholders into confidence," he added.  He said the meetings will also discuss the forthcoming three-day SAARC Business Leaders Conclave scheduled to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal in March this year.

The industry officials have been emphasising that enhancement of regional connectivity through the spill-over benefits of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) can greatly benefit the SAARC members in terms of trade.

He said the chamber has been striving to boost the trade and investment among members since its inception.



China to set up dispute settlement regime for BRI

BEIJING (INP): With repaid progress of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) around the globe, China is likely to consider setting up dispute settlement regime to ensure its smooth working and to meet the expectations of relevant parties, says Global Times quoting Chinese experts. There are two main ways to solve disputes: one is the litigation mechanism, including legislative and judicial methods, while the second mainly involves arbitration and mediation. When it comes to the litigation mechanism, there are varied legal systems in economies along the B&R, which makes it more difficult to resolve disputes in this way.  The legal systems include the Continental law system, the Anglo-American law system and the Islamic law system. Moreover, most of the economies involved are developing countries, where domestic legal systems are imperfect. In Jordan, judicial proceedings for commercial disputes generally take three to four years, according to data from China's Ministry of Commerce.

As for arbitration and mediation, these methods play an important role in effectively promoting dispute settlement, but there are many problems when such methods are applied to B&R disputes. It can be expensive and time-consuming to resort to international arbitration institutions.

The International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) is one of the most important such institutions. But the average arbitration fee per case at the ICSID is about $500,000, which is unaffordable to most low-income countries along the B&R.

China already has the capacity to build dispute settlement regimes and institutions. For one thing, since the financial crisis in 2008, developing countries have become an important force for the improvement of the global economy, and China has made a great contribution to the development of the world economy.

As the initiator of the B&R initiative, China has a responsibility to build an associated dispute settlement regime, contributing to global governance, the experts added.



Farmers urged to adopt tunnel technology


FAISALABAD (APP): Agriculture experts have advised farmers to adopt tunnel technology to grow off-season vegetables. According to a spokesman of Agriculture Extension Department, progressive farmers were earning good income by adopting the tunnel technology. He said that it was impossible for growers to grow summer vegetables during chill hours and winter vegetables during hot season. However, the off-season vegetables could be grown easily and successfully in tunnels. He said the vegetables grown through tunnel technology were covered by green fiber sheets to protect them from severe cold and frost or scorching heat. With the intensive care, the farmers can get early production of the off-season vegetables and earn more income than seasonal vegetables, he added. He recommended the vegetable growers to get proper training of tunnel farming. Well fertile loamy soils having better drainage are the best for the cultivation of off-season vegetables, he added.