A Kissan convention was held at TMA Hall to seek proposals from farmers to improve agriculture with utilisation of Rs100 billion package announced by the Punjab government.

On the occasion, the farmers leaders pointed out that irrigation system in the district had almost collapsed. “Shoulders of distributaries are broken, de-silting is not done regularly, Mogas’ size has been decreased, and water flow in distributaries is lower from the authorised flow. As a result, tales and some distributaries have turned dry,” they said.

Rajbahs passing through Mandi city are choked with refuse and plastic bags and irrigation staff has turned a blind eye to it, they said. They added water is backbone of agriculture and without it, per acre yield cannot be increased. They demanded that maximum portion of the package be used for improving irrigation system. They said their second priority is improvement and increase of veterinary service for treatment and protection of livestock against diseases specially foot and mouth diseases.

They said the government should construct boundary wall around veterinary dispensaries, arrange water and electricity and complete staff deficiency for their proper and efficient functioning.

They noted, “Adequate medicines should be made available to treat sick cattle. Cattle crash should be installed in each dispensary. It is our bad luck that fertilisers and pesticides prices are not controlled by government and traders overcharge and resort to black-marketing in sowing season.”

On the other side when the crops are harvested, government lowers price of agriculture produce and when the produce like wheat, and paddy is sold and stocked in storages of hoarders the price is increased, they regretted. This practice is nothing except exploiting the farmers, they said.

They demanded balance should be maintained in agriculture input and output prices to allow them to live. They also demanded increase in price of milk in view of costly cattle breeding of cattle being difficult and increased price of Wanda, Khal and banola.

Additional District Collector Afzaal Warriach presided over the convention. Farmers’ representatives, commission agents and government department officials participated in the convention. Speaking on the occasion, ADC Afzaal Warriach said Punjab government was well aware of farmers’ problems and under directions of CM Punjab it was working to facilitate farmers in increasing per ace yield.

In this respect, he said several measures were taken to provide financial assistance to farmers as compensation.