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ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly was informed on Friday that work on 56 dam projects has been initiated during the last three years, of which 40 projects have been completed, taking the storage capacity to 221,866 acre feet.

In a written reply to a question, the Minister for Water Resources, Moonis Elahi, said that 16 ongoing projects/schemes are at various stages of implementation, which will further add storage of 964,049 acre feet.

"In addition to all this, the federal government has approved 16 new projects in the current fiscal year 2021-22, which will further add storage of 350,716 acre feet," he added.

Elahi said that the government is providing funds for construction of various small, medium and delay action/recharge dam projects in Balochistan through the Federal Public Sector Development Programme during the last three years.

He said that the projects are aimed at providing water for irrigation/agriculture, and drinking purposes, adding the projects are being implemented by the Irrigation Department, Public Health Engineering Department, and the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda).

To a question about the steps to increase cotton production, the Minister for National Food Security, Fakhr Imam, said that the government has taken several measures, which include Rs6 billion subsidy allocated for whitefly specific pesticides, Rs2 billion subsidy allocated for cottonseed during the crop season 2021-22, seed germination issues resolved with Seed Association of Pakistan.

Besides this, he said that Rs8 billion for markup subsidy on agri-loans and Rs1.5 billion for tractor subsidy for farmers, proposing the cotton hedge trading as market correction measure were some of the concrete steps to improve cotton production.

"Improvement in the extension services by using technology like tele cotton. Announcement of intervention price of seed cotton at Rs5,000 per 40kg to support the satisfaction level of cotton farmers are some of the major steps taken by the government for increasing cotton production," he added.

The issue of quorum persisted for the fifth consecutive day as proceedings of the National Assembly were suspended without addressing any agenda item. The proceedings of the House started with Deputy Speaker National Assembly Qasim Suri in the chair.

When the chair proceeded with the question hour, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Kesoo Mal Kheeal Das pointed out the quorum. The chair directed for counting and announced to adjourn the House due to lack of quorum. Now the House will meet again on Monday at 4pm.

The entire legislative business remained unaddressed during the sitting, which included the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Higher Education Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2021, the Higher Education Commission (Second Amendment) Bill, 2021, the Pakistan BaitulMal (Amendment) Bill, 2021, the Evacuee Trust Properties (Management and Disposal) (Amendment) Bill, 2021, the Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment) Bill, 2021, the Federal Government Properties Management Authority Ordinance, 2021, and the Elections (Third Amendment) Ordinance, 2021.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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