Shameful attempt of promoting Anti Army Narrative on Allotment of Land in Punjab

0 11

By: Abdul Basit Alvi

Recently, a letter along with malicious comments is being circulated on social media as an anti-army narrative that the army is occupying government lands. This is completely baseless and contrary to reality as the land mentioned in this letter is mostly barren, ancient and uninhabited.
According to different newspapers and reliable sources, the army and Punjab government are starting a corporate agriculture farming project in the shape of a Joint Venture to enhance the crop yield in order to ensure food autarky.
“The army will play a role at the management level to make the project a success story. However, the ownership of the land will continue to stay with the provincial government. The military will not get any profit or share in the revenue to be mopped from corporate agriculture farming,” sources told to one of the largest newspaper of Pakistan. “Corporate agriculture farming will be initiated on 45,267 acres of the Government of Punjab in Bhakkar, Khushab and Sahiwal districts. The project will be completed in phases.”
The army plays a role every year, they said, in the cleaning of canals to ensure water availability to agricultural land in order to ensure food security. “The army in the past also remained a part of projects of national importance such as building the Karakoram Highway. It has now decided to play its role in increasing the agriculture yield, as this is the lowest-hanging fruit which can play a pivotal role in jacking up the economic outlook of the country. The army will facilitate the project and nothing else. So the criticism in the social media is uncalled for.”
According to Newspapers and reliable sources, corporate companies would also be included in this project, which will be completed in phases. Under the project, state lands of the Punjab government which are barren and under-cultivated will be utilized for corporate farming. The locals would be made part of the project for modern and mechanized farming.
“The produce will not only be utilized to cater to the food needs of the country but also be used in improving the foreign exchange reserves by exporting the agriculture products.” The project is quite challenging, as provision of water to make the land cultivable will be a gigantic task. The Joint venture management agreement was signed on March 8, 2023, with the Punjab government. “Under the agreement, the Punjab government will hand over its state lands of 45,267 acres to the army for corporate agriculture farming,” discloses an official correspondence that took place on March 10, 2023, between the army and Member (Colonies) Board of Review of Punjab.
And to this effect, the Board of Revenue has been asked to hand over by March 17, 2023, 10,273 acres of the Livestock department, Mouza Rakh Ghuman, Tehsil Kalloor Kot, district Bhakkar, by March 23, 27 acres of land of the Forest department, Muaza Gohar Wala, Tehsil Kalloor, Bhakkar, by March 15, 9,424 acres of land of Livestock department, Rakh Mahni, Tehsil Mankera, Bhakkar. The Revenue Board of Punjab has been asked to provide by March 17, 981 acres of the livestock department, Chak 61 MB, tehsil and district Khushab, and by 18 March 837 acres of land of the Agriculture Department, Chak 5 MB, tehsil Quaidabad, district Khushab. The Revenue Board has also been asked to hand over 725 acres of land of the provincial government, Chak 12/11 L, Tehsil Chichawatni, district Sahiwal. The departments are allowed to keep portions as per their requirements for research needs. However, research proposals will be shared for better management.
Pakistan’s geographical area is 196.7 million acres (MA), of which 72.7 million acres are suitable for agriculture, of which 52.4 million acres of land is a cultivated area (irrigated and barani). The area under irrigation is 48.2 million acres. This shows that 20.3 million acres of land is still needed to be irrigated. Sindh has 3.5 million acres of land, which can be brought under cultivation, Punjab has 3.9 million acres, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) 3.1 million acres and Balochistan has 9.8 million acres which, if irrigated, would produce a green revolution.
Also similar, detailed and comprehensive information have been shared by @PEconomist on its Twitter thread and many others on social and print media according to which the Government of Punjab will give this land temporarily to the army to make it cultivable through a joint venture. That means possession and ownership of this land will remain with Punjab government.

While adding further, they say that due to poor land reforms, ineffective agricultural policies, climate change and increasing population, the annual growth of the agriculture sector in Pakistan’s economy, which was 4 percent in 1960, has reduced to 2.5 percent in 2022 which is not compatible with the continuous increase in the population of Pakistan. According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, 76 million acres of the country is cultivable, of which about 27 percent (202 million acres) is not cultivated. Apart from this, about 9 million acres of land used by the Punjab government is barren which can be seen in pictures or visiting the land. Punjab, the most fertile region of Pakistan, due to the lack of modern methods and facilities in the field of agriculture, not only could not cultivate the barren lands, but in terms of production from agricultural lands is suffering day by day degradation. While, the world gets about 75 to 120 manna of rice and wheat from one acre of land, in Pakistan the farmer can get only 35 to 40 manna. Pakistan’s agricultural decline is not only a burden on the economy, but there is a fear of severe food shortage in Pakistan in the near future. To deal with this emergency, the Punjab government has made a plan to restore the agriculture sector with the help of the Pakistan Army. Under this project, the barren lands of the Punjab government will be made cultivable and the production of low yielding lands will be increased. The intervention of the army will only be to provide an integrated administrative structure. The project implementation and agricultural activities will be carried out by the local population and the people of the villages will have a livelihood close to their home. With the use of modern agricultural methods, machinery and high quality seeds, agricultural production will be increased manifold.

They added that, in the first part of the project, different varieties of pulses, millets and rice will be cultivated. This will be followed by large-scale cultivation of canola and wheat. Forty percent of the revenue generated from the crop will go to the Punjab government, 20 percent will be spent on modern research and development in the agriculture sector and the remaining 40 percent will be used for the next crop and expansion of the project. Apart from the cultivation of crops, trees will also be planted on a large scale on all agricultural lands, which will also play a positive role in the environment.

While explaining the positive impacts they say that, the project is expected to generate billions of revenue to the provincial government in a few months. For example, if 30 maunds of wheat are produced from 1 acre of land, then 30 lakh maunds of wheat will be produced from 100,000 acres and the income will be about 11.4 billion rupees which will help in the economy revival of Pakistan. Due to this the economic wheel of agriculture and our farmers will start moving faster. Army will not receive any revenue share from this project.

While elaborating the purpose of the project they added that making barren land arable to combat the challenge of malnutrition. It will help in revival of agriculture sector and provision of livelihood for local villages, farmers and small farmers. It will be helpful in ensuring foreign exchange for research and development in agriculture sector. It will promote the introduction of modern farming methods and cooperative corporate farming model in the agriculture sector and availability of modern agricultural facilities in the local area will greatly benefit the small farmers. It will also assist in reducing Pakistan’s agricultural imports and increasing exports. A major part of the land involved in this project will be allocated for research, which will be conducted in collaboration with the Agricultural Research Institutes of Pakistan.

Readers, it’s quite evident from the information, facts, data and figures that this step of allotting barren land to Pak Army will bring a revolution and positive impact on our deteriorating Agriculture Industry. All propaganda against this remarkable joint venture is baseless and shameful. This disgusting attempt of promoting anti-Army narrative while neglecting the facts is not in the larger interests of Pakistan. All such malicious intentions are condemnable and these attempts will be failed to divert the attention of the nation from truth and facts.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.