LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has directed that solid planning be made for a balanced supply of water for irrigation purposes for achieving agri targets. He said that Punjab government is modernizing canal system through organized and meaningful reforms as the goal of agri self-sufficiency cannot be achieved without improving and harmonizing irrigation system with the changing requirements. He said that in addition to modernizing the 37000-km long canal network, participation of farming community in the management of canals and water channels has been ensured. He said that Punjab province is considered as the food basket of Pakistan and comprehensive measures are being taken for maintaining this identity of the province and uplift of agri sector.
He was presiding over a meeting regarding availability of canal water for agri purposes in the province, here today. Provincial Minister for Irrigation Malik Ahmad Ali Aulakh, Secretary Agriculture, Consultant Irrigation Department M.H. Siddiqui, Director Met Office and officers concerned were present. The meeting considered in depth the supply situation of canal water for Rabi season 2011-12. Addressing the meeting, the Chief Minister said that Punjab government is taking revolutionary measures for the uplift of agri sector and a huge sum of Rs. 19.15 billion is being spent on various projects of agri development including irrigation of more than one lakh acre agri land through drip irrigation, reformation of seven thousand water channels and provision of laser land units to cultivators. He said that these projects will help modernize agri sector. He said that Punjab is an agrarian province and achievement of agri targets is not possible without availability of water. He said that construction of water reservoirs is essential for meeting agri needs. He said that small dams are also being constructed in Barani areas for this purpose. He expressed the hope that small farmers who have obtained tractors under Green Tractor Scheme will pay special attention to increasing per acre yield.