MULTAN

Federal Minister for Food Security Sikandar Hayat Bosan declared on Monday that efforts will be made to compensate the losses the farmers suffered due to hailstorm.

While farmers from suburbs of Multan, whose crops have been ruined by recent rains and hailstorm, warned on Monday to block Multan-Lahore Highway for an indefinite period if the government does not make up for their losses.

Talking to a delegation of affected farmers led by UC Chairman Arshad Mait, the minister added that the hailstorm delivered heavy financial losses to the farmers and the government would support them in this time of trial. He said that the hailstorm and rains badly affected standing crops in many areas of the country and teams of agriculture department were deployed to survey the affected areas. He said that the government had already offered huge relief to the farmers in terms of Kissan Package. “The government believes that the country will prosper if its farmer is prosperous,” he added.

Meanwhile, the farmers from suburban villages of Multan like Karpalpur, Faizpur, Boharpur, Sujanpur and Sardarpur staged a big demonstration on Khanewal Road and shouted slogans against the government. Hundreds of farmer led by Rana Muhammad Alam, Nisar Khan, Fayyaz Hussain and others staged a sit in and blocked the road. They carried out non-stop sloganeering against the government and demanded immediate compensation.

Talking to the journalists on this occasion, the protesting farmers said that the rain and hailstorm completely destroyed corn, canola and wheat crops, fodder and mango orchards but no state representative inquired about their condition. They added that their livestock also died due to recent storm and the poor farmers were faced with severe financial crisis. They demanded the government to enforce agricultural emergency, write off the agricultural loans of farmers and extend financial aid to them for purchasing seed and fertilizer for sowing new crop. They also demanded the government to supply fodder for their livestock. They urged upon Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to play the role of a Kissan-friendly chief minister and issue order for launching of immediate relief initiatives otherwise farmers would be forced to commit suicides.

CLEANLINESS WEEK LAUNCHED

The district government has launched a Cleanliness Week in collaboration with the Solid Waste Management Company and over 1,500 sanitary workers equipped with 150 dumpers, tractor-trolleys and other machinery will clear the town of entire trash.

Briefing the media on Cleanliness Week, the DCO Zahid Saleem Gondal said that the drive would continue till March 26 and every nook and corner of Multan would be cleaned. He said that although the motive behind launching this drive was to create awareness among masses on cleanliness, the sanitary staff would also ensure disposal of water from roads and streets besides removing debris from roads and residential areas.

He disclosed that the Solid Waste Management Company was given the responsibility for sanitation of 68 union councils of Multan in first phase and soon its operation would be expanded to Shujabad and Jalalpur Pirwala. He disclosed that the district government had also introduced an online complaint portal to facilitate the public and the complaints received through this system would be addressed in 24 hours.

Talking to the journalists on this occasion, the Managing Director of water management company Ahmad Shahryar said that a computerised attendance system had been installed at the company office with the technical support of Urban Unit and Punjab Government to locate absentees. He added that strict action would be taken against absent workers but no additional duty would be assigned to any sanitary worker. He revealed that the company had set the target to collect 600 ton trash daily and the staff would work in two shifts to achieve this target. He said that all out efforts would be made to materialize the dream of a neat and clean Multan.

Later on, a rally was held under the leadership of DCO to create awareness on cleanliness.