QUETTA: The Balochistan Assembly on Monday signalled its resentment over the federal government’s decision to withdraw the subsidy on tube-wells in the province. Members of the assembly have called upon the government to restore the funds.
A joint resolution was tabled by provincial minister Zamruk Khan in the session according to which 80 per cent of the province’s population, that is dependent on agriculture, is affected by drought.
Commenting on the issue, Khan said that only two districts of the province, Naseerabad and Jaffarabad, have canal irrigation systems while all other districts rely on tube-wells.
Power outages and low power supply has aggravated problems, destroying crops and equipment installed in the field, he added.
Khan said that the province was expecting the government to bring about reforms in the agriculture sector but contrarily it removed subsidies which will affect Balochistan’s economy adversely.
Supporting the motion, Minister for Irrigation and Power Sardar Aslam Bizenjo said that there are 15,640 tube-wells in the province and if the subsidy is not restored, growers and farmers, who are already suffering huge losses because of a shortage of electricity, will be burdened.
“If the decision is not withdrawn, people will create law and order problems and in such circumstances we, the MPAs, will not be able to stop them,” Bizenjo said. “The total power consumption of Balochistan is five per cent of the country.
Allocating two to three billion for subsidies is not a big deal for the federal government,” he said.
Ministers Sardar Sanaullah Zehri, Syed Ehsan Shah, Jaffar Mandokhel, Habibur Rehman Mohammad Hasani, Isfandyar Kakar and others supported the motion and recorded their protest saying the federal government is giving subsidies worth hundreds of billions to different sectors but is denying merely Rs3 billion for tube-wells, adversely affecting 80 per cent of Balochistan’s population.
Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani was also present in the session and demanded the revival of the subsidy, saying he will support the growers and stand by them.
The resolution was unanimously passed by the members of Assembly. Earlier, members of the assembly offered prayers for those who lost their lives in the plane crash and flash floods. The session was adjourned till August 12 this year.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2010.
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