LAHORE - The PPP has opposed the planned construction of a coal power plant on farmland in Muzaffargarh district of South Punjab.

“When sufficient barren land is available in the area, what is the logic behind acquiring precious farmland for the purpose”, PPP’s central Punjab President Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo said in a statement.

Castigating the Punjab Government for what he called its anti-farmers policy, Wattoo said that the latest manifestation of such a policy was in the district Muzaffargarh where it intended to acquire thousands of farmland for setting up coal-based power plants.

The Punjab Government, he said, fails 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 to resort to extreme action like blocking the national highway or eventually march on the provincial capital to press the government for the acceptance of their demands.

He demanded of the government to use the government land in the region for the power generation projects, adding, that the development strategy should be in harmony with the imperatives of social and development notions.

He maintained 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 them based on its own assessment.

He suggested that the formula for the assessment of the value of the land should be carried out by third party evaluation that should take into account all factors for the purpose.