LAHORE: The Punjab Agriculture Marketing Department has issued notification to dissolve some 29 market committees of the province and set up 25 new committees. Raiwind Market in Lahore has been abolished and Abkari Mandi Market Committee has been formed, while three market committees have been formed in Nankana Sahib and four in Bahawalnagar.
Furthermore, a five-member committee has been set up at the district level for distribution of staff and assets of dissolved committees. Whereas, the matter pertaining to market fees and commission rates is being deferred for quite some time among the middlemen and the provincial agricultural marketing department.
In addition to that, the new rules of agricultural marketing could not be implemented in the province for months, due to which the government has remained unable to start earning additional revenue amounting billions of rupees in terms of revenue collection, while approval of PAMRA rules also remains pending.
Jhangir Tareen, before his discontentment with the Prime Minister, was close to resolving the issue, but owing to his subsequent inactivity in government affairs, the issue like many other agricultural projects, has been put on hold. Meanwhile, the special secretary for Punjab’s agricultural marketing department has advised PAMRA Director General (DG) to immediately hold a meeting with the middlemen to determine market fees and commission rates and propose a final recommendation to the Chief Minister.
Punjab abolishes old market committees
According to the notification issued by DG PAMRA, Raiwand Committee has been abolished in Lahore and replaced with the formulation of Akbari Mandi Committee. Manawala Committee of Sheikhupura has also been abolished and replaced with a vegetable and fruit market committee. In the same vein, Kot Radha Kishan Committee of Kasur, Ghakkar Mandi Committee of Gujranwala and Sakhiki Committee of Hafizabad have also been abolished, while three new market committees have been formed in Nankana Sahid; which include Mor Khanda, Shahkot and Bachiki market committees.
Moreover, other abolished committees include Sarai Alamgir and Dinga Committees of Gujrat, Daska and Pasrur of Sialkot, Narowal’s Badamlahi, Attock’s Hazro and Haddan Badal, Jhelum’s Pinnuwal, Chakwal’s Choi Syedan Shah, Sargodha’s Salanwali and Phalrawan, Chiniot’s Lalian, Multan’s Qadirpur Ran, Khanewal’s Kacha Kuha, Okara’s Basirpur, DG Khan’s Kot Chatha, Layyah’s Fatehpur, Muzaffargarh’s Kot Addu, Shahar Sultan and Alipur committees.
Other than that, the Rojhan Market Committee of Rajanpur, Hall Committee in Sargodha, Saddar and GMabad committees in Faisalabad, vegetable and fruit committees in Chiniot, Toba Tek Singh, Multan, Vehari, Chichawatni, Sahiwal, Okara, Arifwala, Pakpattan, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Dehranwala, Haroonabad and Faqirwali have been established, while new committees have also been formed in Khanpur and Rahim Yar Khan.
Conflict defers appointments in Lahore's market committees
After the gazette notification for the implementation of the new PAMRA Act and repeal of the former Agricultural Produce Markets Ordinance 1978 was issued in 2019, the board of authority was required to formulate rules under the new law within 60 days, but no such rule has been formulated as yet.
Furthermore, as per the new law, Punjab Agriculture Marketing Regulatory Authority, the government had to abolish the fixed market fee rate on auction of agricultural commodities in the markets and instead set a new fee in accordance with the auction price.
Per sources, Jhangir Tareen and the department had earlier decided to fix a 0.60% market fee but the recommendation was opposed by the middlemen. “The middlemen had argued that the government instead of imposing one per cent market fee on the price of agricultural commodities should retain the old market fee rate per 100 kilograms and increase the market fee from Rs 2.00 to Rs 7.00 per quintal,” the source informed The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2020.
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