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Farmers oppose plan to build housing society on NARC land

Farmers oppose plan to build housing society on NARC land

PESHAWAR: The representatives of various organisations of farmers have expressed concern over the Capital Development Authority’s plan to build a housing society on the land of National Agricultural Research Council (NARC) in Islamabad and warned to observe a sit-in outside the parliament if the plan was not abandoned.

Speaking at a press conference at Peshawar Press Club on Friday, Mohammad Israr, representing growers, said that they would not tolerate conversion of the NARC land into a housing society as suggested by CDA in its recent summary sent to the prime minister for approval.

Mr Israr, who is an olive grower, said that national institutions like NARC were developed with great planning and efforts, and the move by CDA to build a residential colony on the vast agricultural land was tantamount to pushing the country towards hunger and poverty.

He said that over the last 40 years NARC had established state-of-the-art laboratories where about 400 agriculture scientists were busy making experiments on crops, vegetables, fruits and livestock to improve their production and quality and support the farmers. He said that the growers would not tolerate shifting of NARC to any other place.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf provincial spokesman MPA Shaukat Yousufzai said that his party would not tolerate politics on national institutions like NARC.

He urged the prime minister to reject the CDA’s summary and issue it directives for issuance of the new lease agreement so that the scientists and other employees of the research council could work with a peace of mind.

Mr Yousufzai said that at a time when the country was passing through various crises, including power loadshedding, flash floods and law and order issues, it was duty of the government to focus on improvement of agriculture to meet the new challenge of food shortage. He said that his party would table a resolution in the KP Assembly in this regard.

Kisan Board Pakistan representative Rizwanullah Khan said that farmers had been benefitting from the NARC research for improving the quality and quantity of the agricultural produce. He said that 70 per cent of the country’s population relied on agriculture, but successive governments were least bothered to allocate sufficient budget for agricultural research.

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2015

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