ISLAMABAD          -   Balochistan government had brought changes in mineral laws to transform state-run minerals companies into vibrant and profitable entities.

A senior officer of the Mines and Minerals Department said the move was meant to clear the path for the Balochistan Minerals Exploration Company (BMEC) and Balochistan Minerals Resource Company Limited (BMRL) to take mining lease in the province. After the amendment, it would provide legal cover to both the companies, he told APP. The initiative would lead to increase revenue generation in the province, he further said. “Now the companies can partner with the private sector organizations for joint venture in the mineral sector,” he continued.

The officer said the government had a plan to register them with the Pakistan Stock Exchange. He said the amendment was brought after the cabinet gave green signal to do changes in the rule.

“The mining sector is one of the top sectors to boost revenue,” he remarked. 

The provincial government had 90 percent of the shares in the companies, whereas only 10 percent by the federal government, he explained. 

The companies were established with an aim to spur growth of mineral sector by boosting the investors’ confidence, the officer maintained.

400,000 olive trees to be planted in Balochistan this year

About 0.4 million olive trees would be planted in Balochistan during the current year to promote low water-consuming farming, aimed to fight water scarcity in the province. The Balochistan Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) would plant 221,000 olive saplings while remaining would be planted by Balochistan Agriculture Research and Development Centre as part of its upcoming low water consuming project. Talking to APP, DG BARI, Juma Khan Tareen said, “it will also provide farmers an alternative crop which will help bring prosperity to the backward areas.”

He added that the saplings of olive trees were being imported from Spain and would be provided to the farmers free of charge for their economic development. 

They are also working to produce saplings of olive trees in its own nurseries, he said adding, for extraction of olive oil, plants were being established in various cities of the province.

The DG said BARI has started training programmes for farmers and landowners of the province on modern farming methods.

He said, “Cultivation of the 400,000 olive plants will be done on 4,000 acres to resist climate change issue besides introducing a good source of income for poor farmers.”

He said that it was top priority of BARI to make barren land cultivable for promotion of livestock and agriculture sector in the province.

Tareen said this new initiative would help generate revenue for the province, besides bringing large areas of barren land under cultivation.

Local farmers, while appreciating the plant distribution process, said such initiatives were imperative to alleviate unemployment in the province besides ensuring involvement of lower middle class in the country’s development.