LAHORE          -         Expressing dissatisfaction over the performance of agriculture universities, Speaker Punjab Assembly Ch Parvez Elahi on Monday said that lack of research was hampering production of quality seeds for different crops.

“It seems that the agriculture universities are doing nothing in the research field. Wheat in Punjab was once considered the best.  But now it is the worst. The seed of rice is also much better in India as compared to Pakistan. No agriculture university could produce the seed of international standard,” the chair remarked during question hour on agriculture department.

The session started one hour and 40 minutes behind the scheduled time with Speaker Parvez Elahi in the chair.  Minister for Agriculture Nauman Langrial remained on the receiving end with not only the Opposition but also the chair showing dissatisfaction over the overall performance of the department.

PML-N’s Sardar Awais Laghari said that the target of cotton will not be achieved this year.

Agriculture Minister endorsed this, saying that the crop of cotton decreased this year due to unusual rains.

Speaker said that the government isn’t serious in this issue. He offered the government arranging a meeting with seed producing companies, whenever it completed necessary spadework.

Earlier, PML-N MPA Khalil Tahir Sindhu criticized Information Minister Feyyaz ul Hassan Chohan for labeling the veteran journalist Prof Waris Mir as a ‘traitor’. “The personalities like Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Prof Waris Mir are assets,” he said while requesting the chair to stop Chohan from uttering such remarks. Speaker asked the Law Minister to look into the issue and if it is true then bring a unanimous resolution in the House to pay tribute to Waris Mir today (Tuesday).

The Punjab Occupational Safety and Health (Amendment) Bill was introduced in the House, while ‘Discussion on Orange Line Metro Train and Fixation of its Fare’ was also initiated.

PML-N’s Azma Bukhari said that the fare of Orange Time should be at Rs40 only because public cannot afford excess amount. “This is a transport of student, labour class and the poor people.

Therefore, its fare should be at Rs40,” she said. She also criticized the incumbent government for deliberately delaying the project.

Malik Ahmad, Syed Hassan Murtaza, Khawaja Imran Nazir and Rana Mashhood also participated in the debate.

Law Minister Raja Basharat said Rs191 billion have so far been incurred on the OLMT, adding the cost would touch Rs200 billion by the time it attains completion.

He said the government had to give a subsidy of Rs30 billion annually in order to run transport in three districts of the province, adding that why were the other districts deprived of the facility.

“What was the sin of other districts which do not even have the facility of clean drinking water while three districts were rewarded with transport facility ”, he said.

He added the OLMT fare will be decided in the light of the recommendations of the House.  On completion of agenda, the chair adjourned the session till today (Tuesday) at 2 pm.