Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, President Punjab PPP has castigated the Punjab Government for its continuous anti-farmers policy since it assumed the reign of the province.
The latest manifestation of such policy was in the district Muzaffargarh where it intended to acquire thousands of farmland for setting up coal-based power plants.
The Punjab Government, he added, fails to understand the simple logic of the availability of sufficient government’s barren land in the area and yet determined to deprive the poor farmers from their land holdings, their only source of livelihood.
He said that the government pushing the farmers in a tight corner to resort to extreme action like blocking the national highway or may eventually march the provincial capital to press the government for the acceptance of their demands.
He demanded that the Punjab Government to use the government land in the region for the power generation projects which were important to overcome the energy shortage in the country required for running the wheels of the economy.
He pointed out that the development strategy should be in harmony with the imperatives of social and development notions including climate’s that would ensure the sustainable development which was the acceptable development strategy in the world today.
He called upon the government to hold negotiations with the farmers to work out a mutually agreed formula that was suitable to the farmers and for the proposed power projects.
He said that if it was absolutely important to acquire the land then the farmers should be given compensation on the market price of the land which was much higher what the government was unilaterally offering based on its own assessment.
He suggested that the formula for the assessment of the value of the land should be carried out by third Party evaluation that should take into account all factors for the purpose.
He however demanded that the government should give priority to set up the power plants on the government land that would be a win situation for the government and the farmers need not to be pushed to limits to surrender the land in favour of the development projects.